A person who has stopped breathing may not be
dead but is in immediate critical danger. Life depends on
oxygen that is breathed into the lungs and then carried
by the blood to every body cell. Since body cells cant
store oxygen and the blood can hold only a limited
amount (and only for a short time), death will result
from a continued lack of oxygen.
The heart may continue to beat and the blood may
still be circulated to the body cells for some time after
breathing has stopped. For a short time, blood will
contain a small supply of oxygen; therefore, the body
cells wont die immediately. For a very few minutes,
theres a chance that the persons life may be saved.
A person whos stopped breathing but who is still alive
is in a state of respiratory failure. The first-aid treatment
for respiratory failure is artificial ventilation.
Artificial ventilation provides air exchange until
natural breathing is reestablished. Artificial ventilation
should be given only when natural breathing has
stopped. Never give artificial ventilation to any
person who is still breathing.
Dont assume breathing has stopped if a person is
unconscious or if a person has been rescued from the
water, from poisonous gas, or from contact with an
electrical wire. Remember, never give artificial
ventilation to a person who is breathing naturally. If
the victim doesnt begin spontaneous breathing (breaths
by himself/herself) after using the head or jaw tilt
techniques (discussed later) to open the airway, give
artificial ventilation immediately. If a blocked airway
prevents ventilation, one of the thrust methods
(discussed later) to clear the airway must be performed,
followed by another attempt at artificial ventilation.
MOUTH TO MOUTH
To perform mouth-to-mouth ventilation, take the
1. Clear the victims mouth of obstructions (false
teeth and foreign matter).
2. Place the heel of one hand on the victims
forehead, and use the other hand placed under
the chin to tilt back the head to open the airway.
3. Using the thumb and index finger, pinch the
4. Take a deep breath, cover the victims mouth
with your own, and blow.
5. Then remove your mouth from the victim to
allow him or her to exhale.
Observe the victims chest for movement. If the
victim hasnt started to breathe normally, start artificial
ventilation with four quick ventilations in succession,
letting the lungs inflate only partially. If the victim still
doesnt respond, then you must fully inflate the victims
lungs at the rate of 12 to 15 ventilations per minute, or
one breath every 5 seconds.
MOUTH TO NOSE
Mouth-to-nose ventilation is effective when the
victim has extensive facial or dental injuries or is very
young. Mouth-to-nose ventilation creates an effective
To administer this mouth-to-nose ventilation
1. Place the heel of one hand on the victims
forehead and use the other hand to lift the jaw.
2. After sealing the victims lips, take a deep
breath, place your lips over the victims nose,
Observe the chest for movement and place your ear
next to the victims nose to listen for or feel air
exchange. Again, you must continue your efforts at the
rate of 12 to 15 ventilations per minute, or one breath
every 5 seconds, until the victim can breathe without
Sometimes during artificial ventilation air enters
the stomach instead of the lungs. This condition is
called gastric distention. It can be relieved by moderate
pressure exerted with a flat hand between the navel and
the rib cage. Before applying pressure, turn the victims
head to the side to prevent choking on the stomach
contents that are often brought up during the process.
BACK PRESSURE/ARM LIFT
The back pressure/arm lift method is an alternate
technique used when other methods are not possible. To