Improper CPR Can Lead to Broken Ribs

August 13, 2012Comments Off on Improper CPR Can Lead to Broken Ribs

It seems so simple. You come across someone suffering from a cardiac arrest. You get down on your knees and start compressing the patient’s chests. You are thinking that the harder you make the compressions, the more likely the victim would be able to pull through. Or is it?

Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, or more commonly known as CPR, is considered to be one of the most effective way by which a person suffering from cardiac arrest may be able to recover. In the past, CPR usually involved, compressions, checking of the airway, and breathing. In 2010, however, guidelines on how a CPR should be carried was updated by both the American Heart Association as well as the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation. Instead of the typical ABC (Airway, Breathing, Compression), a CPR now starts with Chest Compressions, followed by Airway, and then Breathing. The only time that the ABC model is followed is when the patient concerned happens to be newborns as well as those who are suffering from respiratory arrest brought about by drowning for example.

Unfortunately, not only do most of the public have no idea about the shift from ABC to CAB, they are also misinformed about how CPR is performed. For one, not many people are aware that there is actually a specific point where you can do the compressions. Most people actually believe that compressions had to be done on top of the heart. In some cases, they do not compress deep enough, thinking that doing the compressions fast would make up for the lack of depth. This is probably the reason why a research conducted by Korean researchers have shown that, out of 71 patients, around 20 would suffer from broken ribs while about 15 would have multiple bone breaks. The same study also showed that, while 1 out of 3 patients attended to by paramedics sustained broken ribs, there was 1 in every 3 patients who suffered from broken bones after a lay person administered CPR on them. Of course, there are also other factors to consider when it comes to the persistence of broken bones in patients receiving CPR, aside from the inexperience or lack of training of the person administering the CPR.

One of the factors that could have played a part on the persistence of broken bones is the condition of the bones themselves. If the patient is suffering from osteoporosis, there is a great risk for the bones breaking especially when pressure is applied. There is credence to this as there is a higher incidence of bone fracture in women than in men, the former being more prone to osteoporosis.

The results of this study, however, should not dampen one’s resolve to learn CPR. After all, what’s a few broken bones if it allows the person to live a little longer?

If you are intent on pursing your CPR training and certification, there are a number of programs that you can take advantage of online.