Explaining CPR in Spanish

Learn to discuss CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) in Spanish with the family of a patient with advanced dementia.

Next week, we will begin a series of lessons based on 4 scenarios where a patient suffers an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. In this series, we will learn how to explain the results of CPR, the condition of the patient, and the next steps in their care in Spanish. To introduce this series, we are revisiting a dialogue from our Palliative Care series, in which a doctor explains CPR while discussing code status with the daughter of a patient admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. 


Access full show notes, the Quizlet set and the PDF for this lesson within our Spanish for Emergencies course! 

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Dialogue 3:05

Key Medical vocabulary 

We will admit him to the hospital 5:03

His health has deteriorated.  6:11

Would he like to receive CPR? 8:09

Explanation of CPR 11:35

We return to the dialogue 16:10

¡Aprende más!

This lesson is part of our Palliative Care series. In this series, we cover. 

  1. Advanced Directives
  2. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  3. A DNR order and less aggressive therapies at the end of life
  4. Discussing goals of care for a critically ill patient 

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I recorded this dialogue with one of my Spanish teachers from México, Ángel Bahena. Click here to take lessons with Ángel.  

Key Medical Vocabulary

We will admit him to the hospital.


ingresar al hospital
to admit to the hospital 

la neumonía

to treat

to treat, to cure 

Vamos a ingresar a su padre al hospital para tratar la neumonía. 
We are going to admit your father to the hospital to treat the pneumonia. 

His health has deteriorated. 



Se ha puesto / vuelto muy débil. 
Se ha debilitado mucho. 
He has become very weak. 

el derrame cerebral

to worsen

el estado de salud
state of health

Su estado de salud ha empeorado.
His state of health has declined. 

los problemas para respirar
problems breathing

el corazón

to fail

Would he want resuscitation?


administrar, aplicar
to administrar, to give

la resucitación/reanimación cardiopulmonar 
cardiopulmonary resuscitation

el paro cardíaco
cardiac arrest

el paro respiratorio 
respiratory arrest

¿Cree que (a él) le gustaría que se le aplicara resucitación/reanimación cardiopulmonar (RCP) en caso de tener un paro cardíaco o respiratorio?
Do you think he would like to be given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest?

Empezamos con el condicional: LE GUSTARÍA QUE…. y como estamos expresando un juicio u opinión, terminamos con el imperfecto de subjuntivo: SE LE APLICARA RESUCITACIÓN CARDIOPULMONAR. Aquí, utilizamos el se pasivo y LE se refiere al paciente. Aprende a usar el subjuntivo para expresar juicios o opiniones: Influence Emotion and Judgments.

Explaining CPR


to revive

la actividad cardíaca /cardiaca
cardiac activity 

la respiración 

La reanimación cardiopulmonar es cuando tratamos de/intentamos reanimar la actividad cardíaca y la respiración después de un paro cardiaco. 
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is when we try to revive the cardiac activity and breathing after a cardiac arrest. 

to press

dar respiraciones
to give breaths

Se le presiona el pecho.
Your chest is pressed on.

Puede romper costillas.
It may break ribs. 

Se le dan respiraciones por la boca.
You are given breaths through the mouth. 

la vía respiratoria

las descargas eléctricas
electrical shocks 

los fármacos/medicamentos/medicinas por vía intravenosa.
intravenous medications 

Se le introduce un tubo por la vía respiratoria. 
A tube is inserted down your airway. 

Se le aplican descargas eléctricas al corazón.
Electrical shocks are applied to your heart. 

Se le administran fármacos por vía intravenosa. 
You are administered medications through an IV. 

Graicas por escuchar. ¡Hasta la próxima! 

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