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CPR ABCs (Airway, Breathing, Circulation)

ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation)

Pronunciation: A-B-C

The ABCs of CPR represent a mnemonic guiding the prioritized assessment and interventions in life-saving efforts: ensuring a clear Airway, checking and maintaining Breathing, and supporting Circulation.

What is ABC in CPR?

ABC is a fundamental principle in emergency medicine and resuscitation efforts. It represents a sequential process:

  1. Airway: Establish and maintain a clear passage for air.
  2. Breathing: Ensure the person is breathing, or provide rescue breaths if needed.
  3. Circulation: Check for signs of circulation, like pulse, and if absent, provide chest compressions.

Key Facts About ABC:

  • Historical Relevance: Historically, ABC was the first approach taught for patient assessment. But, with the emphasis on early compressions, CAB (Compressions, Airway, Breathing) became more favored in cardiac arrest scenarios.
  • Not just for Cardiac Arrest: ABC remains a vital assessment in many other emergencies, such as trauma.

ABC | Importance & Necessity

Why is understanding ABC important?

Recognizing the principles helps:

  • Prioritize interventions during emergencies.
  • Minimize brain and organ damage due to lack of oxygen and blood flow.
  • Increase the chance of a favorable outcome in emergencies.

Who needs to understand the ABC?

  • Healthcare professionals.
  • Emergency responders.
  • Individuals learning basic first aid and CPR.

ABC | Identification & Action

How to apply ABC during an emergency?

  1. Airway: Open the airway using the head-tilt-chin-lift maneuver unless trauma is suspected.
  2. Breathing: Listen and feel for breaths. If absent or irregular, give rescue breaths.
  3. Circulation: Feel for a pulse. If absent, start chest compressions.

When to modify ABC to CAB?

In cases of sudden witnessed cardiac arrest, starting with compressions (CAB) is recommended due to evidence showing early compressions improve survival rates.