The Heimlich maneuver is a first aid procedure developed to clear blocked airways in adults and children at least one year old. It was first described by Henry J. Heimlich in 1974.

This technique is intended for use in cases of total airway obstruction by a foreign body in a conscious victim. However, it should be emphasized that it should only be performed when the victim can no longer breathe or cough.

When performed correctly, the Heimlich method can be very effective in clearing the victim's airway. It consists of a series of firm pressures applied to the victim's upper abdomen, just below the breastbone, to expel the foreign body from the airway.

It is important to note that using the Heimlich method when air is flowing can make the situation worse by further immobilizing the foreign body and causing asphyxiation. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the victim cannot breathe or cough before performing this procedure.

The Heimlich maneuver is a life-saving first aid technique that should be used with caution and only in cases where the victim's life is in imminent danger. It should be performed by trained and experienced professionals to ensure the safety and well-being of the victim.


Definition and Meaning

The Heimlich maneuver, also known as abdominal compression, is a first aid technique used to clear a person's airway in case of an obstruction. It is usually used when the victim is unable to cough or breathe due to an object obstructing the throat, such as a mouthful of food or other foreign object.

The maneuver consists of sharp, vigorous pressure applied to the victim's upper abdomen, just below the ribs. These pressures force air out of the lungs and create enough pressure to expel the object from the victim's throat. This technique should be used with caution, especially in children and the elderly, as it can result in injury, fractures or medical complications. It is important to receive proper training in the Heimlich technique before using it on a person in respiratory distress.

How the Heimlich maneuver works

The Heimlich maneuver is used in cases of total airway obstruction by a foreign body in a conscious victim. It aims to dislodge the object stuck in the throat and preventing the person from breathing. However, it is important to note that this method is completely ineffective if air is being passed, especially if the victim is coughing or making sounds. If breathing or coughing occurs, the Heimlich maneuver can be dangerous, as it may immobilize the foreign body and make the obstruction more severe, resulting in asphyxiation.


Use of the Heimlich Maneuver:

The Heimlich maneuver should only be performed if an inhaled foreign body causes the victim to become asphyxiated, i.e., if the airflow is completely interrupted and the victim can no longer cough. It is important to check that neither sound nor airflow is coming out of the victim's mouth before performing the maneuver.


Heimlich maneuver technique

The Heimlich maneuver technique is relatively simple to perform. It involves placing a closed fist between the victim's abdomen and diaphragm, and pushing inward and upward with force. It is important to note that the fist should be placed just above the belly button. It is also important to keep the victim standing or sitting while performing the maneuver. It is essential to continue performing the maneuver until the object is expelled or the victim resumes normal breathing. It is also recommended that a medical professional be consulted immediately after an airway obstruction to avoid potential damage.