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Radiol Technol. 2007 Mar-Apr;78(4):269-74.

Chest compressions: biomechanics and injury.

Author information

Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.



Radiologic technologists are sometimes called on to resuscitate patients in cardiac emergencies. By understanding the dynamics of chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the related risks for rib and sternal fractures, R.T.s will be better equipped to perform CPR.


To review the mechanics of CPR and its associated risks, as well as propose criteria for future studies of CPR-related injuries.


The author reviewed the literature to explain how CPR works, how often injuries occur during CPR and how these injuries have been studied in the past.


Past investigations into CPR-related rib and sternal fractures are not consistent in research methodology and thus are not comparable. In addition, there is only 1 recent study that collected data on compression-induced injuries in survivors of cardiac arrest.


Consistent study protocols are needed to enhance interstudy comparability and improve resuscitative health care. Recently revised guidelines regarding chest compression during CPR invite new research on compression injuries. The author supports adoption of 5 criteria for future study protocols.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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