5 Situations When You Do Not Perform CPR

5 Situations When You Do Not Perform CPR


Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique that can significantly improve the chances of survival in emergencies. However, there are situations when attempting CPR can be ineffective or even harmful. It is essential to understand when CPR is appropriate and when it should not be performed to ensure the safety and well-being of both the rescuer and the individual in distress.

Understanding CPR

What is CPR?

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a first-aid technique used in emergencies to manually preserve brain function and restore blood circulation in individuals experiencing cardiac arrest.

The Importance of CPR

CPR is crucial because it buys time for professional medical help to arrive, increasing the likelihood of survival during a life-threatening event.

Situations When CPR is Necessary

While CPR is essential in many emergency scenarios, it is specifically applicable in the following situations:

Cardiac Arrest

When an individual’s heart suddenly stops beating or beats irregularly (cardiac arrest), CPR can be the difference between life and death.


In cases of near-drowning incidents, providing CPR immediately can prevent brain damage due to lack of oxygen.


For individuals who are choking and cannot breathe, performing CPR may dislodge the obstructing object and restore normal breathing.

Electric Shock

Electrocution can cause cardiac arrest. CPR is vital to maintain blood circulation until medical help arrives.

Drug Overdose

In drug overdose cases that lead to respiratory or cardiac arrest, administering CPR can be life-saving.

Situations When You Should Not Perform CPR

While CPR is beneficial in most emergency situations, there are specific cases when attempting CPR is not appropriate:

When the Person is Breathing

CPR is meant for individuals who are not breathing or not breathing normally. If the person is breathing normally, do not perform CPR.

Decomposition of the Body

In situations where the body shows signs of decomposition, it is best not to perform CPR due to the inability to reverse the effects.

Incidents Involving Dangerous Animals

If providing CPR puts the rescuer at risk of harm from dangerous animals nearby, it is safer to wait for professional help.

Cases of Rigor Mortis

Rigor mortis is the stiffening of the body after death. CPR is ineffective on bodies in this condition.

Professional Medical Assistance

When professional medical assistance is already on the way, it is best to wait for their arrival instead of attempting CPR.

Alternatives to CPR

In situations where performing CPR is not recommended, alternative first-aid measures can be taken:

Rescue Breathing

If the person is breathing but unconscious, rescue breathing can provide sufficient oxygen until medical help arrives.

Using an Automated External Defibrillator

In cases of sudden cardiac arrest, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can help restore the heart’s rhythm.

First Aid Measures

Depending on the nature of the emergency, other first aid measures may be more appropriate than CPR.

Staying Prepared for Emergencies

To handle emergencies effectively, it’s essential to be prepared:

Basic Life Support Training

Undergoing basic life support training equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to respond appropriately in emergencies.

CPR Certification

Obtaining CPR certification ensures that individuals can confidently perform CPR when necessary.

Creating an Emergency Plan

Having an emergency plan in place for home or workplace can save valuable time and lives during a crisis.

The Psychological Impact of CPR

Performing CPR can have emotional and psychological effects on the rescuer, which should not be overlooked.

Common CPR Myths Debunked

Let’s debunk some misconceptions surrounding CPR:

CPR Can Restart the Heart

CPR does not restart the heart; it maintains blood flow to preserve brain function until defibrillation or professional help arrives.

Only Professionals Should Perform CPR

Bystanders can perform hands-only CPR, which is better than no CPR at all while waiting for professional help.

CPR Always Saves Lives

CPR increases the chances of survival, but it does not guarantee a positive outcome in all cases.

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Knowing when and when not to perform CPR is vital for everyone. It empowers individuals to take the right actions during emergencies and ensures the safety of both the rescuer and the victim. Being informed about alternative measures and staying prepared with proper training and certification can make a significant difference in saving lives.


Can I perform CPR on a person who is breathing but unconscious?

No, CPR is meant for individuals who are not breathing or not breathing normally. If the person is breathing normally, do not perform CPR.

Is CPR effective on bodies showing signs of decomposition?

No, CPR is not effective on bodies that show signs of decomposition.

Should I attempt CPR if there are dangerous animals nearby?

If performing CPR puts you at risk of harm from dangerous animals, it is safer to wait for professional help.

What is the purpose of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)?

An AED can help restore the heart’s rhythm in cases of sudden cardiac arrest.

Does CPR guarantee that the person will survive?

While CPR increases the chances of survival, it does not guarantee a positive outcome in all cases.

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