How To Do CPR On An Adult – And Where You Can Learn More

Christian Eriksen's collapse in Euro 2020 is a reminder to learn this lifesaving technique.

Many adults have been inspired to learn, or re-learn, CPR after the devastating scenes on Saturday during the first half of Denmark’s opening match of Euro 2020.

Christian Eriksen collapsed and was treated on the pitch before being taken to hospital. Denmark’s team doctor, Morten Boesen, later confirmed Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest and that “he was gone” prior to being resuscitated.

Eriksen, 29, is now stable and awake in hospital, and has sent a message to his teammates.

As many conversations have highlighted in the last few days, the speed of administering CPR will have made a huge difference. “Life is precious, learn CPR,” one doctor tweeted.

“Imagine the consequences of not knowing what to do,” another member of the public tweeted.

Many people shared illustrations with information on how to give CPR. If you’re keen to learn, here’s what you need to know.

How to do CPR on an adult

CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It combines chest compressions and rescue breaths to give a person the best chance of survival following a cardiac arrest, explains St John’s Ambulance, a volunteer-led, charitable organisation that teaches first aid to the public.

During Covid-19, people are advised to do hands-only CPR. In regular times, you should only do rescue breaths if you’ve been trained and feel confident using your skills. If you’re not completely confident, it’s best to do hands-only CPR instead, the NHS advises.

One of the best ways to learn CPR is by watching a YouTube video of people performing it but here’s a breakdown to ensure you’re doing it right, whether using only your hands or adding rescue breaths too.

Either way, if an adult is unresponsive and not breathing normally, you still need to call 999 or 112 for emergency help, but you can start CPR as you wait.

Hands-only CPR

To carry out a chest compression:

  1. Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the centre of the person’s chest. Place your other hand on top of your first hand and interlock your fingers.

  2. Position yourself with your shoulders above your hands.

  3. Using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by 5 to 6cm (2 to 2.5 inches) on their chest.

  4. Keeping your hands on their chest, release the compression and allow the chest to return to its original position.

  5. Repeat these compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 times a minute until an ambulance arrives or you become exhausted.

CPR with rescue breaths

  1. Place the heel of your hand on the centre of the person’s chest, then place the other hand on top and press down by 5 to 6cm (2 to 2.5 inches) at a steady rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute.

  2. After every 30 chest compressions, give 2 rescue breaths.

  3. Tilt the casualty’s head gently and lift the chin up with 2 fingers. Pinch the person’s nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth, and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth for about 1 second. Check that their chest rises. Give 2 rescue breaths.

  4. Continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives.

The techniques for performing CPR are different for any child who is more than one year old, and a baby under one. Find out more on the NHS website.

How to learn CPR with a first aid course

If you want to go one step further and swot up on your first aid knowledge in general, there are several you can choose from.

In basic first aid training, you will usually be taught about CPR, unresponsive adults, head injuries, seizures, and severe bleeding.