Pardon me if this is the incorrect place to ask, but we recently had a CPR written test and it asked what was the ratio of compressions to breaths.

I answered 15:1 thinking that for 30 compresions to 2 breaths will yield such a ratio. I got that particular question incorrect, and what was worse was that it was asked twice (don't ask why). I asked the teacher why the ratio couldn't be 15:1 since it asked for a ratio. Now, I'm not trying to be a smart Alex or anything, but it did ask for a ratio and that is what a ratio is.

It's like saying that 9/10 people approved of a particular treatment. Most obviously there were more people in the survey, for it could there could have been 90 out of a 100 people who approved of the treatment.

Could the ratio be considere

1 Answer 1


Definitely agree with you, it's a silly thing and different test inspectors have different ideology.

My advice is to not worry about the results of the "paper tests" (I know it's annoying) and focus on it's practicality. They make changes to the so called "guidelines" every few years, as if the past guidelines were "inferior" or "not up to date". Here's an interesting thing to think about.

Is CPR best given using the ABC method? In the past, we were taught Airway, Breathing, Compression. Now "new" guidelines are vouching for CAB because people are afraid of mouth to mouth contact, but are ok with compressing. Which allows the blood (with lower % oxygen:hemoglobin ratio) to circulate the body.

What about if there is 2 people? does the ratio change? If the ratios do change, it makes you question just how arbitrary these numbers are.

At the end of the day, tests are tests, and real word is real word. I worked in the hospital and my co-worker was accused by the patient's family members of "not compressing fast enough." As if he was not "passionate" enough in saving a patient's life. Poor lad had to fill out more "paperwork". Good luck, the medical industry really sucks the energy out of you.

In reference to Uptodate, the essential goals for performing excellent chest compressions include:
●Maintain the rate of chest compression at 100 to 120 compressions per minute ●Compress the chest at least 5 cm (2 inches) but no more than 6 cm (2.5 inches) with each down-stroke
●Allow the chest to recoil completely after each down-stroke (it should be easy to pull a piece of paper from between the rescuer's hand and the patient's chest just before the next down-stroke) ●Minimize the frequency and duration of any interruptions


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    Hi! Welcome to Health SE. This is an interesting answer. Thank you. However, would you mind just adding some references ("new" guidelines for example) to back up your claims? (in accordance with the Health SE policies meta.health.stackexchange.com/questions/1/…). Thank you. Best regards. M. Arrowsmith Sep 26, 2016 at 21:02
  • reference for BLS guidelines 2015 eccguidelines.heart.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/… Sep 28, 2016 at 4:35
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    edit from previous post: removed the following due to negative rating, "However, it's not written but usually implied that we go by compression per breathes per minute. Would you give 15 pushes and 1 breath per minute? or 30 pushes and 2 breath per minute? Of course its 30:2." - The above statement was given to be specific to original poster's question. Sep 28, 2016 at 4:46
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    Hi @辛祐賦hsinyofu. Thanks for providing the asked references. I was wondering if you don't wish to add the BLS figure in your answer directly? Comments are at risk of being deleted over time. Thanks. Cheers, Felipe
    – Felipe
    Sep 28, 2016 at 11:28

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