First aid treatment for respiratory arrest

Mastering first aid: Saving lives with respiratory arrest treatment

Knowing how to respond swiftly and effectively in a medical emergency can mean the difference between life and death. Respiratory arrest, wherein breathing stops completely or becomes inadequate to sustain life, is a critical situation that demands urgent attention. In this blog, Rose aims to equip you with the essential knowledge and skills required to administer first aid treatment for respiratory arrest, empowering you to take decisive action in potentially life-saving scenarios.

Key facts and statistics

  • In the UK, over 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur each year, according to the British Heart Foundation.
  • Immediate CPR can double or triple a person's chance of survival from cardiac arrest, as highlighted by the Resuscitation Council UK.
  • An estimated 30,000 people sustain a sudden cardiac arrest outside of hospital in England annually, underscoring the importance of preparedness and prompt intervention.

Key definitions

  • Respiratory arrest -The cessation of breathing, which can lead to oxygen deprivation and subsequent organ failure.
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) - A life-saving technique involving chest compressions and rescue breaths, designed to maintain blood circulation and oxygenation.
  • Airway - The passage through which air enters and exits the body, encompassing the nose, mouth, throat, and lungs.

Legislation, regulations, and best practice

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 outline the legal obligations for employers in the UK to provide adequate first aid provisions in the workplace. This includes ensuring that employees receive training in first aid procedures, including CPR, and that suitable first aid equipment is readily accessible.

Recognising respiratory arrest

  • Common signs and symptoms may include sudden cessation of breathing, gasping for air, and loss of consciousness.
  • Immediate recognition and intervention are crucial for maximising chances of survival.

Initiating CPR

  • Check for responsiveness and call emergency services without delay.
  • Open the airway by gently tilting the head back and lifting the chin.
  • Commence chest compressions and rescue breaths in a ratio of 30 compressions to 2 breaths, maintaining a steady rhythm.

Maintaining airway patency

  • Clear any obstructions from the mouth or throat to facilitate adequate airflow.
  • Exercise caution when tilting the head back, particularly in cases of suspected spinal injury, to minimise further harm.


  • Enrol in a certified first aid training course to acquire essential CPR and first aid skills.
  • Regularly refresh your knowledge and skills through ongoing training and practice sessions.
  • Ensure that workplaces and public spaces are equipped with accessible first aid kits and AEDs to facilitate immediate intervention in emergencies.


Respiratory arrest demands swift and decisive action to maximise chances of survival and minimise the risk of long-term complications. By familiarising yourself with the signs, symptoms, and appropriate first aid procedures, you can play a pivotal role in saving lives and promoting community resilience in the face of medical emergencies.

Take proactive steps to enhance your preparedness and response capabilities. Click here to enrol in our comprehensive first aid training courses and qualifications today. Your commitment to learning and readiness could make all the difference in safeguarding the health and well-being of those around you.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Mastering first aid: Saving lives with respiratory arrest treatment - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK

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