CPR on really old people 80yo+

(mods, please let this run for awhile on the ug b4 medicalgrounding this. mahalo!)

serious question: i have been cpr certified, but i don't remember in any of the courses what they recommend for very old people--like 80+yo where they're very fragile/frail (re: chest compressions) and also rescue breathing.

do we have any experts here on what techniques you would use for this type of person?

for a close relative

thing is, when they suffer from frailty, broken ribs/stern. can b a death sentence. looking for techniques

I'm CPR (adult/child/infant) and First Aid certified, and during the CPR class I asked what should be done if there is severe trauma to chest cavity, e.g. some of the unconscious victim's ribs appear to be broken from a car crash.

She said to do what you can do.

CPR serves as a last resort to keep someone alive. When you discover someone unconcious and not breathing, either you call or instruct someone to call professional assistance ASAP -- then it comes down to doing whatever is necessary to keep that person's heart beating and their lungs breathing. Whether someone's just old and frail and or his chest is full shotgun pellets, you've got to follow through with the compressions and breaths. Better to break an adult's rib cage to keep them alive than refrain and let them die.

Note that there ARE different compression techniques for children and infants but in regard to elderly individuals you're addressing fully-grown skeletal structures...

man, this is a rough one. seems like we're all in the same boat


Also, not sure of you financial situation or what connections you might have, but a solution to avoiding compression would be having an AED unit accessible (and of course knowing how to use it). I know they're super-expensive but maybe you can rent them?

living will prevents me from using that. :(

Please explain... not sure what you mean. If you can't administer it, could someone else?


If someone doesn't want to be resuscitated, you can't use CPR or any other measures, after your last comment, that's what it sounds like this person wants.

"but a solution to avoiding compression would be having an AED unit accessible (and of course knowing how to use it)"

You may still have to administer CPR even if you have an AED. The AED will only work if they are in defib.

"If someone doesn't want to be resuscitated, you can't use CPR or any other measures, after your last comment, that's what it sounds like this person wants."

The victim/patient will need to have a DNR otherwise they get CPR when they go unconcious.

The AED will only work if the person is in a shock able rhythm.

CPR should be done regardless, and who gives a crap about their chest issues.

Consent issues are relevant based on where you live. Each area has its own laws and rules.

Has everyone learned the new compression / breath ratios? Those have also recently changed: 30/2

Take them near a car....get jumper cables....attach to car battery....begin shocks!

I work in the ER and have done chest compressions on people of all ages and sizes. Breaking ribs is part of the game...got to get those compressions to the proper depth. I have broken several, you can feel them pop when you start. We did CPR on a guy for 3 hours during super bowl sunday because his care giver forgot the DNR paperwork. The got a copy and pulled him from the vent about an hour after all that. I have never seen CPR done according to the way they teach it. We just pump the chest..fast. That is the main component to CPR...the breaths are not near as important.

thx guys, to explain a little more, it's for my 93yo grandfather. he has a dnr, so they won't cpr/aed nothin. i have him living w/ me w/ 24hr caregiving who r great, but the last time he had a real bad asthma attack, he was pleading for me to help him. i nebulizered him and that got him stablized, and now he has pneumonia and his doctor says it doesn't look good, but because he is still of sound mind and strong will, if he gets to the point where he "needs" cpr, he'd prolly want me to, except for that dnr--i think he means that if he's a veg, he doesn't want life support. i don't know, but it's stressful and when the time comes, i will perform it anyway, and was hoping there was a safer way to do it on an old guy.

mahalo again, fctv

Just remember when you do break a few ribs and shit, there is a chance that you can cause interanl damage and bleeding. i have seen this happen also. At 93, you are going to cause alot of chest trauma....if it were me, I would let him go and not subject him to that type of a recovery. Let him goto the light and complete the cycle of life. He has a DNR for a reason and CPR is a life saving procedure so I would assume he does not want it. Medics will not assist if they know he has one and you can not change that unless you have a signed medical power over him.

i think a lot of old folk do the dnr thing until the day comes and then it's too late, but you're right about what chest compressions can do to a 93yo and that's why it's gonna be really stressful when it comes. he had injured his back last year, and that was hell for him and everybody. he somehow recovered from that and was doing really well, but now this. mahalo

probably best to ensure a clear airway and turn him to the side recovery position and just let nature take it's course.

the damage you would cause with proper CPR would be devestating.

^this makes sense. bummers though.