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What is high-quality CPR?

High-quality CPR is defined as chest compressions that are of sufficient depth and performed at a fast enough rate to generate enough blood flow to the brain and other vital organs to delay cell death. Cells begin to die within 4-6 minutes after cardiac arrest, so it is crucial that CPR be performed immediately and with as much diligence as possible.

In their 2020 Guidelines, the AHA identified five critical components required for providing high-quality CPR:

  1. Compressions should be delivered at a rate of 100–120 compressions per minute.
  2. Compressing the chest to a depth of 2–2.4 inches in adults.  This depth is crucial to help blood flow to the vital organs.
  3. Full chest wall recoil after each compression. This can be achieved by not leaning or applying full weight on the patient.
  4. Minimization of pauses in compressions. Interruptions in compressions can decrease the success of a successful shock.
  5. Avoid excessive ventilation by maintaining 2 breaths to every 30 compressions.

What does high-quality CPR do?

High-quality CPR saves lives! According to the American Heart Association, high-quality CPR is one of the most important factors to improve the chance of survival from cardiac arrest.  High-quality CPR greatly increases the potential for positive outcomes, saving more lives.

When is high-quality CPR needed?

If an individual collapses and is not breathing or gasping, the person requires CPR and likely requires an AED to restart the heart.  CPR is imperative until an on-site AED is obtained or first responders arrive on the scene. CPR is often the first response to someone suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

Most bystanders can perform hands-only CPR where compressions are administered.   However, with high-quality CPR, a trained individual delivers the CPR that fits the specific guidelines which involve two (2) rescue breaths for every thirty (30) compressions. According to a study by Emergency Medicine International (published on, the rates of survival at discharge from a hospital in all age groups and neurologically favorable discharge were 2.84- and 4.29-times higher, respectively, when high-quality CPR was administered.

Even with high-quality CPR, the victim will likely need a shock from an AED to recover.


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The CPR training program from an authorized AHA training center will help you achieve high standards of performance so that more lives can be saved. It includes not only individual skills practice but also team exercises for coordination between healthcare providers and care teams, which are all essential parts of delivering quality resuscitation treatments effectively!