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JAMA Patient Page
October 6, 2010

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

JAMA. 2010;304(13):1514. doi:10.1001/jama.304.13.1514

When the heart stops beating (cardiac arrest), only a few minutes remain before that person dies, unless circulation (blood flow) returns or is restored. Providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a way to keep some circulation going until expert help arrives. Compressing—pushing down on the patient's chest and then allowing the chest to recoil—helps push some blood through the heart, into the lungs, and into the major arteries of the body (including to the brain). These chest compressions, possibly combined with artificial respiration (breathing) that is usually performed in a "mouth-to-mouth" manner, are termed basic CPR. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have become part of out-of-hospital resuscitation efforts. Using an AED can be lifesaving in certain types of cardiac arrest. AEDs are increasingly available in schools, athletic venues, airports, and other public places. The October 6, 2010, issue of JAMA contains an article about performing CPR using chest compressions only, without mouth-to-mouth breathing, during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.