Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy


The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More


Military and Veterans Discount


AARP’s Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.


AARP Games - Play Now!


Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.


Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.



Heart Disease


Most Popular


You Can Save a Life

By taking 60 seconds to learn hands-only CPR — now

Video courtesy of the American Heart Association

Conventional (Mouth-to-mouth) CPR

Conventional CPR, which is what most people think of when they imagine CPR, involves a fine choreography of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation paired with chest compressions.

However, unlike in the past, when rescue breathing was initiated before chest compressions (remembered by the acronym ABC for "Airway, Breathing, Compressions"), the current CPR guidelines, issued in 2010, use the acronym CAB for "Compressions, Airway, Breathing."

As demonstrated in the video above, conventional CPR involves the following steps:

  1. Call 911 and retrieve an AED (automated external defibrillator), if available, or ask someone else to.
  2. Administer 30 two-inch-deep chest compressions.
  3. Open and check the airway, and provide two rescue breaths. (Watch that the chest rises and deflates.)
  4. Repeat the 30:2 compression to ventilation ratio until the patient is revived, an AED is activated or medical assistance arrives.

This type of CPR is the better choice when a victim has stopped breathing because of drowning or when a person is found unconscious (i.e. no one witnesses the collapse) and is not breathing normally.

Mouth-to-mouth CPR is also commonly used for breathing emergencies involving children, since the reason for a young person to stop breathing is usually a respiratory problem and not a sudden cardiac arrest.

Since it can be hard to provide deep enough breaths in order to breathe for two, it's beneficial to learn and practice conventional CPR in a classroom setting. Look for classes in your area by visiting the websites of the American Heart Association or American Red Cross, or by contacting your local department of parks and recreation, adult education or senior services.

Helpful Hint: Specially designed CPR face masks and face shields now exist to assist and protect rescuers while performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Many first aid kits come equipped with such a mask or shield, which can also be purchased at a pharmacy.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points