A person undergoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with external cardiac compresion is at risk for a number of traumatic injuries. A person who has been successfully resuscitated should be evaluated for evidence of injury.


Risk factors for injury:

(1) osteoporosis

(2) pre-existing rib and/or sternal fractures

(3) metastatic tumor to ribs or sternum

(4) excessive pressure by resuscitator

(5) prolonged compression

(6) cardiothoracic vascular aneurysm


Traumatic injuries:

(1) rib fractures or costochrondral separations

(2) sternal fracture

(3) pneumothorax

(4) rupture of an aneurysm (aortic, left ventricle)

(5) laceration of the liver

(6) splenic rupture

(7) gastric rupture

(8) bruising of the skin or subcutaneous hematomas

(9) trauma to the upper airway


Other complications

(1) bone marrow emboli

(2) aspiration pneumonia


Occasionally injuries such as pneumothorax may occur in the resuscitator as well as the resuscitatee.


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