Can CPR be done with one hand?

Yes! There are certain situations when you should use one hand in order to deliver CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).

CPR involves chest compressions and rescue breaths in order to keep oxygenated blood flowing around the body. This buys time until the arrival of a defibrillator and Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

Chest compressions are normally delivered on an adult victim with two hands in the centre of the chest. Each chest compression is delivered to a depth of 5 – 6cm with a rate of 100 – 120 a minute. This depth and speed is important in order to keep enough oxygenated blood flowing around the body to keep the brain and vital organs alive until the arrival of definitive medical care.

However, on child victim, only one hand should be used to deliver chest compressions. This is because children will not require as much force in order to deliver an adequate depth of chest compression.

Therefore one-handed CPR is the commonly taught technique when commencing CPR on a child. However, on an adult, two hands should be used in order to deliver effective chest compressions. If you are in a situation whereby you can only deliver one-handed CPR (for example, due to an injury or disability) then you should start this as it is much better than doing nothing at all!

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