Performing the Heimlich Maneuver in Several Easy Steps

When a trained person is available in an emergency situation, the victim's chances of survival are much greater. During various medical emergencies, there are several techniques that can be life-saving.

In this article, we will discuss a technique called Heimlich Maneuver. This technique is administered when a person is choking or suffering from an obstructed airway. Continue reading to know more about the Heimlich Maneuver steps.

Heimlich Maneuver

In 1974, Dr. Henry Heimlich invented a technique to help a choking victim. This technique is well-known today as ‘Heimlich Maneuver’ after the person who invented it. This first aid method for choking is also known as abdominal thrust. Choking occurs whenever someone can’t breathe due to a blocked throat or windpipe by food, toy, or any foreign item.

In such conditions, the Heimlich maneuver expels air from the lungs by lifting the diaphragm. The trapped foreign object needs to get expelled from the airway. Depending on the age and other conditions of the victim, this technique is used in different ways.

Let’s look at the procedure of administering the Heimlich maneuver to different people.

Steps Involved in Heimlich Maneuver

You can follow the steps mentioned below to perform this technique according to the age and need of the choking person.

Conscious Adult or Child

Below are the steps for an adult or child above the age of 1 who is conscious but cannot speak, cough, or breathe:

  1. Wrap your arms around the waist of the choking person by standing behind them.
  2. Make a fist with one hand and put your other hand over the fist. Then, position the thumb side of your fist against the person’s stomach. You can feel the diaphragm muscle below their ribs and slightly above the belly button.
  3. Now, push into that muscle with a forceful, rapid, upward thrust.
  4. Continue these abdominal thrusts till the object comes out.

Unconscious Adult or Child

Perform the following steps if the adult or child is unconscious or cannot sit or stand:

  1. Position the victim flat on their back.
  2. Next, sit on their thighs, facing toward them.
  3. Place one hand on top of the other to position the heel of the lower hand over the diaphragm. It is just below their rib cage and slightly above their belly button.
  4. Then push up and in by leaning onto the hands.
  5. Keep repeating thrusts till the object is coughed out.

Heimlich Maneuver on Yourself

Follow these steps for yourself if you choke while you are alone:

  1. First, make a fist with your thumbs pointing inward, and position it against the diaphragm, under your rib cage, and just above the navel.
  2. Push up and in until the object is expelled.
  3. If this does not work, try leaning over a counter or chair by positioning its edge at your diaphragm. Try to push in and up. Produce thrusts by moving slightly forward and backward.
  4. Continue until the object is dislodged.

Infants Under 1 Year

Follow these steps for infants under one year:

  1. Position the infant face down on your forearm, ensuring the infant’s head is lower than the chest.
  2. Support the baby’s head with your hand while resting the forearm on the thigh.
  3. Ensure the infant’s nose and mouth are not covered.
  4. Smack the infant’s back four times in between the shoulder blades, using the heel of your other hand. Continue till the object comes out.
  5. If this fails, turn the infant over. Place two fingers in the center of the infant’s chest, between the nipples. Push down to a depth of about 1 inch four times. Repeat till the object comes out.

You can be of great help to someone choking if you know the above steps and are confident enough to help them. Learn these life-saving techniques and skills to help others in emergencies. Getting certified gives you the much-needed knowledge and confidence to handle such emergencies. You can now get certified with us at MyCPR NOW online at your own convenient time.

Heimlich Maneuver Steps
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