What to Do If a Rib Breaks During CPR

 In Classes, CPR Certification, Emergency Tips, First Aid, Health Tips

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure that involves chest compressions. However, properly administering CPR chest compressions may cause a rib to break due to the amount of pressure and force required.


Ultimately, it is important for a first responder to understand how to administer CPR safely, quickly and effectively.  Even if a rib breaks, this is okay because the ultimate goal is to make sure the blood is being pumped throughout the body.


When to Administer CPR


CPR may be performed on an individual who suffers sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a condition that causes the heart to suddenly stop beating.


The heart relies on an electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. This system sometimes can be interrupted by arrhythmias, which cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm.


An arrhythmia prevents the heart from pumping blood to the brain and other essential organs, leading to SCA. And if SCA is not addressed within the first few minutes, it may result in death.


CPR enables a first responder to help an SCA victim until advanced medical personnel arrive on scene. With CPR, a first responder can use a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths to get blood circulating throughout the body. This increases the likelihood that an SCA victim will maintain sufficient oxygen that flows to the brain and other organs.


A Rib Breaks During CPR: What to Do Next


Let’s face it – the cracking sound associated with a broken rib likely is the last thing a first responder wants to hear while he or she performs CPR. Fortunately, a broken rib is a temporary problem. And if a rib breaks during CPR, a first responder should continue to focus on saving the SCA victim’s life.


Before administering CPR on an SCA victim, a first responder should call 911 immediately. Doing so ensures advanced medical personnel will arrive on scene soon.


During a 911 call, a first responder should provide details about the SCA victim’s location and respond to the emergency operator’s questions. In addition, the responder should stay with the SCA victim and provide any help that he or she can until advanced medical personnel are available.


If possible, a first responder should start CPR with chest compressions. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends the use of CPR chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute.


To administer CPR chest compressions, a first responder should place the heel of the hand at the center of the chest (the spot where the lower ribs meet). Then, he or she should place the second hand over the first hand and intertwine the fingers. This will ensure a first responder is set up to administer chest compressions in the right position.


Next, he or she then should lock the elbows and compress the SCA victim’s chest; a first responder should use his or her body weight during chest compressions and ensure the depth of the compressions ranges from 2-2.4 inches.


In many instances, a first responder will count aloud as he or she performs a set of 30 chest compressions at a rate of approximately 100-120 beats per minute. At the end of each set, he or she may perform a set of two rescue breaths, and then continue with 30 compressions.


If a first responder hears a cracking sound while administering chest compressions, it could possibly be a rib breaking.  This is okay, it is important to continue pushing down at the same rate and depth to ensure the blood is flowing to the vital organs. Most first responders don’t push down hard enough, so it’s important to make sure to reach the 2 to 2.4 inch depth on an adult.



Become a Life-Saver in Your Community Today


Suffering a broken rib is a painful experience, but it pales in comparison to the loss of life.


An SCA victim surely will choose a broken rib over the loss of life any day of the week. And with the right CPR training, anyone can learn how to perform CPR properly to ensure the highest chance of saving a victims life.


CPR training is a difference-maker for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. To illustrate the impact of CPR training, let’s take a look at the following CPR and cardiac arrest statistics from the AHA:


  • Only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from a bystander.
  • 70 percent of Americans feel helpless during cardiac emergencies due to the fact that they do not know how to perform CPR or their CPR certification has lapsed.
  • Effective bystander CPR can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival.


It doesn’t take long for an individual to become CPR-certified, either. In fact, individuals who want to learn CPR should sign up for a CPR class from SureFire CPR.


SureFire CPR dedicates the necessary time and resources to teach individuals how to perform CPR chest compressions, rescue breaths and much more. Our in-depth classes are taught by medical professionals who are committed to helping individuals become life-savers in their respective communities. As such, our teachers provide both hands-on and classroom lessons to guarantee individuals are ready to perform CPR at any location, at any time.


Perhaps best of all, SureFire CPR makes it easy for individuals to build their CPR skill sets in comfortable, engaging and interactive learning environments. Students will practice CPR techniques on their own individual manikin to understand what it’s like to administer CPR on an SCA victim and build the muscle memory with lots of practice. That way, students can gain the confidence they need to assist SCA victims in emergencies.


Ready to enroll in a CPR class? To find out more about our CPR training programs, please call us today at (888) 277-3143.

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