How to Give Abdominal Thrusts

When someone is choking, every second counts. Immediate and appropriate action is crucial to ensuring the affected individual's safety.

Signs of Choking

Signs of choking can include clutching the throat, inability to speak or breathe, and panicked facial expressions.

Understanding Abdominal Thrusts

What Are Abdominal Thrusts?

Abdominal thrusts are a first-aid procedure used to expel an object from the airway of a person who is choking.

Why Abdominal Thrusts?

This method can be highly effective for dislodging an object stuck in a person's airway, allowing them to breathe again.

Proper Positioning: A Key Factor

Anatomical Considerations

Understanding the human anatomy can be useful in effectively applying abdominal thrusts. The area just above the navel and below the ribcage is generally targeted.

Where to Place Your Fist

The ideal position for your clenched fist is slightly above the person's navel but well below the breastbone. This is usually the most effective area for dislodging the object.

The Technique: Step-By-Step

Making a Fist

Start by making a fist with one hand. The thumb side of your fist will be the point of contact against the person's abdomen.

Holding Your Fist

Grasp your fist with the other hand to get a firm grip and better control during the thrusting motion.

Performing the Abdominal Thrusts

Upward Thrusts

Once your fist is properly positioned, perform quick, upward thrusts in an attempt to expel the object.

Force and Repetition

The thrusts should be strong and may need to be repeated multiple times until the object is dislodged.

Additional Considerations


Abdominal thrusts are generally not recommended for infants, pregnant women, or individuals who are excessively overweight. Alternative techniques are advised for these groups.

When to Stop

If the individual starts to cough forcefully, speak, or breathe, this usually indicates that the object has been dislodged. Abdominal thrusts should then be halted.

Seeking Medical Attention


Even if the choking episode appears to be resolved, it's important to seek medical evaluation to ensure that no internal damage has occurred.

Persistent Issues

If multiple attempts at abdominal thrusts do not resolve the issue, immediate medical attention is required.

Community Awareness and Training

First Aid Courses

Taking a recognized first aid course can prepare you for a range of emergencies, including choking incidents.

Inform Others

Share your knowledge and awareness of this life-saving technique with family, friends, and community members.

Knowing how to properly position your fist while performing abdominal thrusts could mean the difference between life and death in a choking situation. Always remember to consult professionals for training and to remain updated on best practices.

First Aid Certification
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