Harvard Heart Letter

Heart beat: Hands-only CPR

Updated recommendations make cardiopulmonary resuscitation easier to learn and to do: Press hard. Press fast. Don't stop.

Without warning, a family member or friend collapses, twitches and gasps a few times, then lies deathly still. What do you do?

After calling 911 — exactly the right first move — most people do nothing during the agonizing wait for an ambulance to arrive. Starting cardiopulmonary resuscitation, even if you have never taken a CPR class, can make the difference between life and death.

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