Hands – Only CPR

When a loved one experiences a cardiac arrest, seconds matter. A cardiac arrest can occur at anytime and anywhere—home, work or play, and the victim could be anyone, even someone you know and love. The steps to save a life are simple, and we believe everyone should learn them.

For every minute CPR is delayed, a victim’s chance of survival decreases by 10%.

Immediate CPR from someone nearby can double—even triple—their chance of survival.

The Steps

If you see a someone suddenly collapse, remember these two simple steps.

CALL 112 or your local emergency response number
PUSH Hard and fast in the center of the chest.
You can also provide compressions over clothing.


Take 60 seconds to watch the Hands-Only CPR video. Please share it with your family and friends. Together we can save more lives.

You can watch the video in:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why don't teens or adults who suddenly collapse need mouth-to-mouth breathing in the first few minutes after their cardiac arrest?

    When a teen or adult suddenly collapses with cardiac arrest, his or her lungs and blood contain enough oxygen to keep vital organs healthy for the first few minutes, as long as someone provides highquality chest compressions with minimal interruption to pump blood to the heart and brain. The cause is usually an abrupt onset of an abnormal heart rhythm, often ventricular fibrillation (VF). VF causes the heart to quiver so it doesn’t pump blood adequately to vital organs. Before a sudden collapse, the teen or adult was probably breathing normally. This means there may be enough oxygen in the person’s blood for the first several minutes after cardiac arrest. Many cardiac arrest victims have gasping, which could bring some oxygen into the lungs. If the victim’s airway is open, allowing the chest to expand back to its normal position after each compression may also bring some oxygen into the lungs. For these reasons, the most important thing someone near the victim can do for a person in sudden cardiac arrest is to pump blood to the brain and to the heart muscle, delivering the oxygen that still remains in the lungs and blood. Do this by giving high-quality chest compressions with minimal interruptions. Interruptions in compressions to give mouth-to-mouth breaths may bring some additional oxygen into the lungs, but the benefit of that oxygen can be offset if you stop the blood flow to the brain and heart muscle for more than a few seconds (especially in the first few minutes after a sudden cardiac arrest when there is still plenty of oxygen in the lungs and blood).

  • Are there times when I should use conventional CPR with Breaths?

    Yes. There are many medical emergencies that cause a person to be unresponsive and to stop breathing normally. In those emergencies, conventional CPR that includes mouth-to-mouth breathing may provide more benefit than Hands-Only CPR. The American Heart Association recommends CPR with a combination of breaths and compressions for:

  • Will Hands-Only CPR increase the chance of someone near the victim taking action in a cardiac emergency?

    Yes. In U.S. surveys, Americans who had not been trained in CPR within the past five years said they would be more likely to perform Hands-Only CPR on a teen or adult who collapses suddenly. Also, Hands-Only CPR is an easy-to-remember and effective option for people who have been trained in CPR before but are afraid to help because they are not confident that they can remember and perform the steps of conventional CPR.

  • Who should receive Hands-Only CPR?

    Hands-Only CPR is recommended for use on teens or adults whom you see suddenly collapse.

  • What is the Hands-Only CPR messaging based on?

    The American Heart Association works with some of the world’s leading CPR scientists and medical professionals. Their continuous review of published research studies on CPR resulted in the following American Heart Association Science Advisory, published in April 2008 in the medical journal Circulation: “Hands-Only™ (Compression-Only) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: A Call to Action for Bystander Response to Adults Who Experience Out-of-Hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrest.”