Does CPR Break Ribs?

by | Dec 12, 2019 | CPR Tips

Believe it or not, almost 100% of the time (if you’re doing it correctly) performed on an adult. I know that may seem a shock to quite of people reading this, but let me explain. When performing CPR chest compressions on an adult victim, you’re going to compress approximately 2 ½ inches. You have to go down this far to pump the oxygenated blood out of the heart and into the vital organs along with pumping it up to the brain. Contrary to what most people think, you will not puncture any organ doing compressions the correct way. You will probably cause a few ribs to fracture, but ribs will heal.

If you’re performing CPR chest compressions on a child (approx. 30-90 lbs) you will be going roughly half that distance down so the likelihood you would feel rib fracture would most likely be about 10%. Performing CPR chest compressions on an infant you’re going to compress approx. ¾ in down using your thumbs. You will never hear rib fracture on an infant.

I always go according to the size of the victim rather than age to determine how far to go down.

Infant: Newborn up to 25 lbs
Child: 30 – 90 lbs
Adult: Over 100 lbs

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