CPR + Cardiac Arrest | Wilderness Medical Protocol 1

Protocol 1: CPR & Cardiac Arrest

This protocol applies only to normothermic patients (core temperature >90°F; 32°C) in cardiac arrest. Chest compressions are to be initiated for patients in cardiac arrest evidenced by pulselessness or those with an unblocked airway with no breathing evident. To be effective, CPR must be started promptly. Even then, its benefits are limited.

Assess and treat according to standard CPR protocols.
If cardiac arrest persists continuously for over 30 minutes of sustained chest compressions and assisted ventilations all treatment may be stopped.


There are some circumstances where CPR should not be started. These include:

Any pulseless person who has been submersed in water for more than one hour and not connected to a source of air.
Any pulseless person with an obvious lethal injury (i.e. decapitation, exsanguinations). This would include severe trauma to the chest that would prevent CPR or an open brain injury.


These protocols were written by Jeffrey Isaac, PA-C (of Wilderness Medical Associates International) and have been edited and authorized by Kathryn Vaughn, MD & Clifton Castleman, WEMT, for use by Center for Wilderness Safety.

Download the CWS Wilderness Medical Protocols




   •  - Overview
   1 - CPR
   2 - Asthma
   3 - Spine Clearance
   4 - Wound Closure
   5 - Dislocations
   6 - Anaphylaxis

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