Choking in the Conscious Adult
Alternate Names : Heimlich Maneuver for Choking in the Conscious Adult, Obstructed Airway
What are the treatments for the injury?
Without oxygen, the brain can begin to die within 4 to 6 minutes. Rapid first
aid for choking can save a life. The best way to help a conscious adult who is
choking is by using the Heimlich maneuver. The procedure is done by causing an
artificial cough to expel the object from the airway.
This Heimlich maneuver should not be done unless the person cannot breathe or
is turning blue and is definitely choking. The Heimlich maneuver can be done
with the person standing, sitting, or lying down. It may be necessary to repeat
the procedure many times.
Performing the Heimlich maneuver with the person sitting or standing
Stand behind the person with arms wrapped around the waist.
Make a fist with one hand.
Place the thumb side of the fist against the person's abdomen just above
the navel but well below the breastbone.
Grasp the fist with the other hand and press the fist into the person's
abdomen with a quick upward thrust.
Give up to 5 upward thrusts. Repeat until the object pops out or the person
Each thrust should be a separate and distinct movement.
Performing the Heimlich maneuver with the person lying down
Place the person face up.
While kneeling, straddle the person's thighs. Place the heel of one hand
against the person's abdomen in the middle, slightly above the navel and well
below the breastbone.
Place the second hand directly on top of the first.
Press the abdomen with a quick upper thrust.
Performing the Heimlich maneuver on an
obese person or pregnant
Stand behind the person with arms directly under the person's armpits and
circle the chest.
Place the thumb side of the fist in the middle of the person's breastbone,
taking care to avoid the xiphoid process. The xiphoid process is at the lower
end of the breastbone.
Grab the fist with the other hand and perform backward thrusts until the
object pops out or the person becomes unconscious.
Performing the Heimlich maneuver on oneself
make a fist with one hand
place the thumb side on the abdomen above the navel and well below the
grasp the fist with the other hand and press inward and upward with a quick
If these steps don't work, a person should quickly lean over a firm surface,
such as the back of a chair, side of a table, or porch railing. Several thrusts
may be needed to clear the airway.
Do not try to remove an object from a conscious person's mouth. This could push
the object further into the throat.
If the person becomes unconscious, begin first aid for choking in the unconscious adult.
What are the side effects of the treatments?
The Heimlich maneuver can cause
vomiting, injuries to internal organs, or broken ribs. Vomiting can be a
problem if the vomited material is caught in the airway and inhaled into the
What happens after treatment for the injury?
It is important for a person who has choked to obtain medical care from a
healthcare professional. Occasionally, an object will enter the lung instead
of being expelled. This can cause
coughing, wheezing, or aspiration pneumonia.