Food Choking and Drowning The Heimlich Maneuver

About how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a choking or drowning victim.

FOOD CHOKING AND DROWNING: THE HEIMLICH MANEUVER

This first-aid technique for choking and drowning victims was introduced in June, 1974, by Dr. Henry J. Heimlich. It has proven effective in situations where other methods have failed, and can be used when the airway is either partially or totally obstructed by either food or water. The simple method consists of pressing upward into the abdomen, which suddenly elevates the diaphragm and compresses the lungs. Air pressure in the windpipe and lungs is increased, air is suddenly expelled through the windpipe, and the obstructing material is forced out through the mouth. The Heimlich maneuver is performed in two different ways, depending on whether the victim is standing or supine.

RESCUER STANDING

If both victim and rescuer are standing, proceed as follows.

1. Stand behind victim and wrap your arms around his waist.

2. Grasp one of your fists with your other hand and place the thumb side of the fist against the victim's abdomen, slightly above the navel and below the rib cage.

3. Press your fist into the victim's abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Repeat several times if necessary.

If the victim is sitting, the rescuer stands behind the victim's chair and performs the maneuver in the same manner.

RESCUER KNEELING

If the victim is supine, the maneuver is performed in this manner.

1. Have victim lying on his back. Facing victim, kneel astride his hips.

2. With one of your hands on top of the other, place the heel of your bottom hand on the abdomen slightly above the navel and below the rib cage.

3. Press into the victim's abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Repeat several times if necessary.

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