Choking is a serious issue, and many people die from it annually. Understanding how to perform the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver is essential to help someone in an emergency choking situation. Any moment of danger is frightening for the ones watching the incident unfold, but preparing yourself with the necessary skills helps alleviate your fears and allows you to jump into action and help. If you’d like to know more about how to help during a choking emergency, read on as we discuss some tips for properly administering the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver.
What Is the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver?
The Abdominal Thrust Maneuver was discovered and created by Henry Heimlich, who was a thoracic surgeon and medical researcher. He found that correctly applying abdominal thrusts could dislodge an object caught in an individual’s airway. The maneuver became well-known in the 1970s and is still one of the most widely understood forms of saving someone from choking.
When To Perform the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver
Do not offer the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver if you haven’t had training to do it correctly. You could end up making things worse. If you’ve been through a course or had a professional teach you the proper procedure, you can administer the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver when you see the following signs:
- A person shows the universal choking sign of placing their hands around their neck.
- A person is choking and can’t talk or cough.
- A person is choking and getting weaker or gasping for air.
Do not perform the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver on someone who is unconscious. At that time, CPR is necessary. Remember that the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver is only a safe option when someone’s life is in danger.
Steps To Perform the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver
The following are step-by-step instructions on how to properly administer the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver.
- Stand behind the choking person, then wrap your arms around their abdominal area.
- Create a fist with one of your hands, then wrap your other hand around that fist.
- Place your covered fist just below the choking person’s ribcage (above the navel).
- Using a thrusting motion, push the fist in and upward five times. This is not a gentle movement but a sharp thrust.
- Continue this method until you dislodge whatever is blocking the airway.
Have someone call 911 while you are administering the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver in case it doesn’t work, the person becomes unconscious, or they need help afterward. Also, if they become unconscious during the process, stop the Abdominal Thrust Maneuver and administer CPR.
Seeing someone choke is frightening, but with proper training, you can remain calm and quickly step in to help save someone’s life. At CPR123, we offer training and certification for those who want to help save lives and those who are experienced and ready to become instructors themselves. Our AHA BLS instructor course is self-directed online, so you can conveniently earn a certificate while working full-time. Contact us for more information about all CPR123 courses and certifications.