do you break ribs in CPR?
Lets be honest, you’re not “supposed to”, but what most first aid trainers will tell you is, it’s ok if you do as its better than not doing CPR (Puts people at ease)
It depends on the individual patients medical history, but a history of chest injuries or brittle bones will make it inevitable. Similarly, in someone hypothermic, the chest wall will be tough to compress, making it very difficult to give compressions, let alone break any ribs.
Some instructors say “If you do it properly, you will break the ribs”, which isn’t quite true, depends on previous injuries and if the patient has just had a serious impact. The way I prefer it described by first aid instructors is “never worry if you do”. If you dont do any CPR the patient will not recover !!
It’s better that a patient has a broken rib, which is sore then heals, than dies due to a lack of oxygen to their brain, because they received inadequate or no CPR.
That said, resuscitation professionals I know who encounter these situations regularly seem to generally not break ribs in the younger to middle age range. Lets not forget the latest guide lines state you should be pushing down at least 1/3 of the chest depth.
The most important point is, if you’re ever in a situation like this, don’t worry if you break a rib, but equally, don’t worry if you don’t. Not breaking someone’s ribs doesn’t mean you’re not doing CPR properly.
When you hear cracking noise its actually more likely to be the cartilage this normal and to be expected. This will feel and sound like a “snap crackle pop” type noise, and it may be concerning, The cartilages are what joins the ribs to the sternum.