Heimlich Maneuver

Written by Brian Krans | Published on July 21, 2014
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on July 21, 2014

First Aid: Heimlich Maneuver

Each year, many people die from choking on objects that obstruct their airways and cause suffocation. But there is a simple technique that can be used on both adults and children older than one year of age to help expel a trapped object.

The technique is called the “Heimlich maneuver,” or “abdominal thrusts.” Abdominal thrusts lift the diaphragm and expel air from the lungs. This causes the foreign object to be expelled from the airway.

How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver

Determine whether you need to perform abdominal thrusts. A person who is choking may be able to dislodge the object on his or her own.

If the person is not coughing or is unable to speak, or if he or she signals for help, ask him or her stand up.

Then take the following steps:

  • Position yourself behind the person.
  • Place your arms around his or her waist.
  • Make a fist and place it just above the navel, thumb side in.
  • Grab the fist with your other hand and push it inward and upward at the same time.
  • Repeat the maneuver until the object is expelled.
  • If the person cannot stand up, straddle the person’s waist, facing the head. Push your fist inward and upward in the same manner as you would if he or she were standing.

The choking person should also seek medical help to ensure there is no physical damage to the throat and airways.

Was this article helpful? Yes No

Thank you.

Your message has been sent.

We're sorry, an error occurred.

We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.

Article Sources:

More on Healthline

Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage COPD
Lifestyle Changes to Help Manage COPD
Leading a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference in your COPD symptoms. Learn more about basic changes that will make it easier to manage your COPD.
Timeline of an Anaphylactic Reaction
Timeline of an Anaphylactic Reaction
From first exposure to life-threatening complications, learn how quickly an allergy attack can escalate and why it can become life threatening.
Seasonal Allergies and COPD: Tips to Avoid Complications
Seasonal Allergies and COPD: Tips to Avoid Complications
For COPD patients, allergies pose the risk of serious complications. Learn some basic tips for avoiding allergy-related complications of COPD in this slideshow.
Numbness, Muscle Pain and Other RA Symptoms
Numbness, Muscle Pain and Other RA Symptoms
The symptoms of RA are more than just joint pain and stiffness. Common symptoms include loss of feeling, muscle pain, and more. Learn more in this slideshow.
Famous Athletes with Asthma
Famous Athletes with Asthma
Asthma shouldn’t be a barrier to staying active and fit. Learn about famous athletes who didn’t let asthma stop them from achieving their goals.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement