How many cycles of CPR should you perform in 2 minutes?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) comprises of cycles of chest compressions and rescue breaths in a ratio of 30 chest compressions to 2 rescue breaths (30:2). One ‘cycle’ of CPR is one round of 30:2.

In order to maintain effective CPR, rescuers are advised to swap over after performing 2 minutes of CPR in order to ensure their chest compressions remain effective (delivered at the correct depth and speed).

In 2 minutes you should be able to perform around 5 cycles of CPR if chest compressions are being performed at the correct speed (minimum of 100 chest compressions per minute). The speed of chest compressions is important in order to push blood around the body. Chest compressions performed slowly are unlikely to be effective.

Therefore, as a rule of thumb, rescuers should aim for approximately 5 cycles of CPR before swapping over. They should continue to swap over until advanced medical help arrives. 

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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