When you’ve been in the training industry as long as we have, you start to notice common themes in the questions students undergoing CPR training ask. One of the most fundamental questions new emergency preparedness laypersons ask is, “What does CPR stand for, exactly?”
The most basic answer is that CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but there’s a lot more important information contained in those three letters. Knowing what the letters stand for is one thing, but how do the three distinct components of CPR make it a life-saving skill?
Read on for the answer to, “What does CPR stand for?” and to find out where you can learn more about CPR training.
What Does the C in CPR Stand For?
CPR is a seven-step process of providing first aid for an unconscious person whose heart has stopped and who isn’t breathing normally. But beyond what CPR is, what does CPR stand for, both in terms of the acronym and the meaning behind each letter?
The C in CPR stands for the cardio in cardiopulmonary — referring to the heart. A person whose heart has stopped no longer has oxygen-rich red blood cells circulating throughout his or her body.
Without the red blood cells to transport oxygen to the body’s various tissues and organs, cell death becomes an imminent threat to the victim. According to the Cleveland Clinic, brain cell death can begin in as few as five minutes. This cell death is irreversible, which underlines the importance of having rapid first aid provided in an emergency.
What Does the P in CPR Stand For?
The P in CPR stands for the pulmonary in cardiopulmonary, which refers to the lungs. The lungs are the main organ in the respiratory system responsible for turning air into properly humidified and temperature-controlled oxygen that is transferred into your red blood cells. The effects of disturbances to this system can be seen in under a minute.
When providing CPR, the chest is compressed, which serves two functions:
- To pump the heart to restore blood flow throughout the body.
- To compress, and thus force air into, the lungs. Even without rescue breaths to inflate the lungs intentionally, this process can prove effective.
Studies published by the American Heart Association Journal on compression-only CPR have found that the residual oxygen in the lungs is sufficient to increase the survivability of CPR due to cardiac arrest. While compression-only CPR can be effective, if you’re properly trained in CPR, rescue breaths provide added levels of survivability in providing CPR.
What Does the R in CPR Stand For?
The R in CPR stands for resuscitation and is a good reminder that the goal of CPR is to return the victim to consciousness. This is a key point in assessing whether a person requires emergency CPR.
Note that CPR should never be conducted on a person who is conscious but struggling to breathe. In this case, the Heimlich maneuver would be the appropriate next step.
Where Can I Learn More About CPR Training?
Once you understand the answer to, “What does CPR stand for?”, it becomes easier to visualize what’s actually happening as you’re performing it. Every layperson has the ability to successfully provide CPR in an emergency, but there’s no replacement for quality CPR training.
Making sure you have foundational CPR knowledge starts with the right program. Always get your CPR training from someone with years of experience, a good reputation, and added knowledge or experience to support their training.
At ProTrainings, in addition to the highest-quality CPR training, we offer in-person, fully online, or blended CPR course options to suit all learning styles and lifestyles.
Still wondering, “What does CPR stand for?” Reach out to ProTrainings today to learn more about our group and remote-staff CPR certification programs.