Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation


With mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, you can deliver much-needed oxygen to an unconscious person who is no longer breathing adequately. The first responder blows his exhaled air into the mouth of the unconscious. In case of injuries in the mouth area, he may also ventilate the patient via the nose (mouth-to-nose ventilation). Learn here how to perform a first aid ventilation exactly and what you should pay attention to.

Article overview mouth-to-mouth resuscitation
  • Quick Overview
  • How does the respiratory donation work?
  • When do I make a respiratory donation?
  • Risks of respiratory donation

Brief overview: mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

  • What is a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? A first aid measure for the respiration of a person who does not breathe or not sufficiently breathing.
  • Action: Slightly overstretch the injured person's head. Hold his nose and blow your own exhaled air into the slightly open mouth of the patient.
  • In which cases? In respiratory arrest and cardiovascular arrest.
  • risks: First responders: risk of infection by inhaled pathogens, "eye flares" (small points of light or flashes in front of the eyes) due to the effort of breathing. In the case of the patient: Vomiting due to injected air in the abdomen, whereby the vomit can move the respiratory tract.


  • If you are unsure about how well the cardiac arrest is, or if you fear a potential risk of infection, you can omit mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if necessary and only do the cardiac massage. Both changes would be better.
  • If you get dizzy with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, you should take a short break without altering the head position of the unconscious person.
  • Snap-breathing is not normal breathing! It can occur in the first few minutes of cardiovascular arrest. Then you should definitely revive the affected person (reanimate).
  • Regularly check that you do not inadvertently push the head of the unconscious too far back during the breath. That could cause the respiratory tract!
Powerlessness - First Aid MeasuresIf someone suddenly faints and falls over, it is frightening. That's how you react properly. If someone suddenly faints and tips over, that's scary. How to react correctly.To the table of contents

How does mouth-to-mouth resuscitation work?

With the breath-hold in the form of the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, you, as a first responder, blow your exhaled air into an unconscious person who does not breathe on their own.

Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation: instructions

  1. Lay the unconscious man flat on his back.
  2. Kneel beside his head.
  3. With one hand, you now grab the chin of the unconscious and pull it slightly upwards (so the head is slightly overstretched). With the thumb of the same hand you keep the person's mouth open.
  4. Put the second hand on his forehead and close his nose with his thumb and forefinger.
  5. Now breathe normally, then with open mouth, surround the unconscious man's open mouth and inhale your exhaled air for about a second. The affected person's chest must lift noticeably.
  6. Then release yourself from the mouth of the unconscious (but keep his head) and see if his chest is now lower again.
  7. Repeat the whole thing once.
  8. After the second breath, you should start with the cardiac pressure massage, which you then alternate with re-breathing. Experts recommend the rhythm here 30: 2. This means: 30 times cardiac pressure massage and 2 breaths alternately.
  9. Continue the resuscitation until the affected person breates normally or the alarmed ambulance arrives!

Variant: mouth-to-nose ventilation

If the unconscious's mouth does not open or is injured, you can do a mouth-to-nose resuscitation. It is just as effective as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but somewhat more difficult to carry out. It is not easy to keep the mouth of an unconscious person tightly closed while breathing (soft lips!).

This is how mouth-to-nose ventilation works:

  1. Lay the unconscious man flat on his back and kneel beside his head.
  2. Put one hand on the unconscious forehead and the index and middle finger of the other hand under the chin.
  3. Hold the head of the patient a little backwards: with your hand on your forehead, push your head slightly backwards while gently pulling your chin up with your other hand.
  4. Now place the thumb of the "chin" under the lower lip of the unconscious (index and middle fingers remain under the chin) and press firmly against the upper lip to close the mouth.
  5. Breathe in normally. Then wrap your lips around the nose of the unconscious and blow in your exhaled air for about a second.
  6. After the respiratory donation, turn your head to the side to see if the upper body of the unconscious is lowering again.
  7. Now give a second breath, followed by a heart-pressure massage (see above).

Breathing donation with the child

In children, the respiratory donation is given in a slightly adapted form. For example, you should not stick your head in children under the age of one. What else you should consider, learn in the article mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in children.