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Resuscitation. 2004 Dec;63(3):339-43.

Chest wall injuries following cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

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Department of Pathology, Level 2, The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 51 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH164SA, UK.


The forensic records were reviewed of 1823 deaths referred to Edinburgh City Mortuary for autopsy over a 15-month period, 2000-2001; 499 cases (343 males, 156 females) that received CPR prior to death were studied. Rib fractures were found in 29%, sternal fracture in 14%, and 11% of cases showed external chest wall bruising or abrasion. More females sustained rib fractures than males (37% versus 26%; P <0.05). There was no significant gender difference for sternal fracture (females 17%, males 12%; P=0.051). The incidence of rib fractures increased with age (P <0.001). There was no significant difference in the number of left or right ribs fractured (P=0.631). This study incorporates all cases of in and out-of-hospital CPR and does not discriminate for the CPR provider or technique employed, therefore, providing a current and representative overview of the incidence of rib and sternal fractures in non-survivors of CPR.

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