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Abdominal thrusts

Choking - Heimlich maneuver

 

Choking is when someone is having a very hard time breathing because food, a toy, or other object is blocking the throat or windpipe (airway).

A choking person's airway may be blocked so that not enough oxygen reaches the lungs. Without oxygen, brain damage can occur in as little as 4 to 6 minutes. Rapid first aid for choking can save a person's life.

Abdominal thrusts is an emergency technique to help clear someone's airway.

  • The procedure is done on someone who is choking and also conscious.
  • Most experts do not recommend abdominal thrusts for infants less than 1 year old.
  • You can also perform the maneuver yourself.

First Aid

 

First ask, "Are you choking? Can you speak?" DO NOT perform first aid if the person is coughing forcefully and is able to speak. A strong cough can often dislodge the object.

If the person is choking, perform abdominal thrusts as follows:

  • If the person is sitting or standing, position yourself behind the person and reach your arms around his or her waist. For a child, you may have to kneel.
  • Place your fist, thumb side in, just above the person's navel (belly button).
  • Grasp the fist tightly with your other hand.
  • Make quick, upward and inward thrusts with your fist.
  • If the person is lying on his or her back, straddle the person facing the head. Push your grasped fist upward and inward in a movement similar to the one above.

You may need to repeat the procedure several times before the object is dislodged. If repeated attempts do not free the airway, call 911.

If the person loses consciousness, start CPR.

If you are not comfortable performing abdominal thrusts, you can perform back blows instead on a person who is choking.

 

 

References

American Red Cross. First Aid/CPR/AED Participant's Manual. 2nd ed. Dallas, TX: American Red Cross; 2016.

Kleinman ME, Brennan EE, Goldberger ZD, et al. Part 5: Adult basic life support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation quality: 2015 American Heart Association guidelines update for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care. Circulation. 2015;132(18 Suppl 2):S414-S435. PMID: 26472993 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26472993.

Thomas SH, Goodloe JM. Foreign bodies. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 60.

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  • Heimlich maneuver on adult

    Heimlich maneuver on adult

    illustration

  • Heimlich maneuver on infant

    Heimlich maneuver on infant

    illustration

  • Choking

    Choking

    illustration

  • Heimlich maneuver on an adult

    Heimlich maneuver on an adult

    illustration

  • Heimlich maneuver on conscious child

    Heimlich maneuver on conscious child

    illustration

  • Heimlich maneuver on conscious child

    Heimlich maneuver on conscious child

    illustration

  • Heimlich maneuver on infant

    Heimlich maneuver on infant

    illustration

  • Heimlich maneuver on infant

    Heimlich maneuver on infant

    illustration

    • Heimlich maneuver on adult

      Heimlich maneuver on adult

      illustration

    • Heimlich maneuver on infant

      Heimlich maneuver on infant

      illustration

    • Choking

      Choking

      illustration

    • Heimlich maneuver on an adult

      Heimlich maneuver on an adult

      illustration

    • Heimlich maneuver on conscious child

      Heimlich maneuver on conscious child

      illustration

    • Heimlich maneuver on conscious child

      Heimlich maneuver on conscious child

      illustration

    • Heimlich maneuver on infant

      Heimlich maneuver on infant

      illustration

    • Heimlich maneuver on infant

      Heimlich maneuver on infant

      illustration

    Talking to your MD

     

      Self Care

       

        Tests for Abdominal thrusts

         
           

          Review Date: 3/31/2017

          Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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