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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR for short is an emergency and first aid technique to prevent brain death in a person who has no heart beat. It is less often used in hospital settings where defibrillators and heart-lung bypass machines are the preferred method of dealing with cardiac arrest.
CPR works best with two persons. The patient is placed flat on their back and one person compresses the ribcage just above the heart approximately 1-2 inches with five quick thrusts in about four seconds. At that point, the other person performs artificial respiration, fully filling the patient's lungs with air and letting it escape. The thrusts are then repeated, followed by another breath.
CPR can work for exceedingly long periods of time, but is extremely tiring and usually causes broken ribs to the patient. As such, emergency care is always called for and outside of a hospital setting, an ambulance should be called before CPR is started.
In Human Error, Foreman and Cameron lead a team to perform CPR on the patient for more than three hours when House instructs them not to put the patient on bypass as he fears clotting will cause a stroke.