Are Broken Ribs Common When Performing CPR?

Are Broken Ribs Common When Performing CPR?

It is not uncommon for ribs to break when CPR is being performed. While it doesn’t happen in all situations, it is a normal occurrence that you should be prepared for when providing CPR to another person. If you find yourself hesitant to perform CPR in case you do break a rib, be prepared for other options. If you do happen to break a rib, you may quite possibly at the same time save a life.

Athletic people generally have more strength in their upper bodies and may end up breaking a person’s rib. There are repeated compressions involved with this action, and they reach approximately 5 cm in depth. It is estimated that 30% of the patients that have received CPR will end up with a fractured rib or a broken sternum. Multiple ribs may also break but this is a small price to pay when a life is being saved.

Elderly patients are more likely to suffer from a rib injury than younger patients, as their bones are more fragile. On the other hand, a person that is overweight is less likely to end up with a fractured or broken rib. The vulnerability of the patient should be taken into account before administering CPR.

If you are performing the procedure and hear or feel a rib break, it is recommended you continue to perform CPR. While rib fractures are considered a serious injury, they can be treated later, whereas cardiac arrest is a time-sensitive issue that requires immediate attention.

To find out more about CPR and the different risks involved, visit! Heart2Heart is one of the leading first aid and CPR training centres, and is an official Canadian Red Cross training partner. Contact us today online or give us a call for more details on training courses and other services.