Performing the Heimlich Maneuver: A Life-Saving Technique


The Heimlich Maneuver, also known as abdominal thrusts, is a crucial life-saving technique used to clear an obstructed airway in cases of choking. This maneuver can be performed by anyone with proper knowledge and training, and it can prevent a choking victim from experiencing severe respiratory distress or even loss of consciousness. In this blog post, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver, drawing insights from MyCPR NOW. Understanding and mastering this technique can empower you to respond effectively in emergency situations and potentially save lives.

Step-by-Step Guide to Performing the Heimlich Maneuver:

1. Assess the Situation:
Before initiating the Heimlich Maneuver, quickly assess the situation to determine if the person is indeed choking and in need of immediate intervention. Look for signs such as difficulty breathing, inability to speak, or the universal choking sign (clutching the throat).

2. Position Yourself:
Stand behind the choking victim and position yourself slightly to one side. Ensure that both of your feet are firmly planted on the ground for stability.

3. Encourage Coughing:
In the initial stages of choking, encourage the person to cough forcefully. Coughing is a natural response that can help dislodge the obstructing object.

4. Perform Abdominal Thrusts:
If the choking victim is unable to cough or breathe, proceed with the following steps:

a. Make a fist with one hand and place the thumb side against the middle of the victim's abdomen, slightly above the navel and below the ribcage.
b. Grasp your fist with your other hand to provide support and exert inward and upward pressure.
c. Perform quick, upward thrusts with your hands, using your body weight to deliver a forceful upward movement.

Note: For pregnant women or individuals who are obese, perform chest thrusts instead of abdominal thrusts to avoid harm to the fetus or injury to the abdominal region.

5. Repeat the Maneuver:
If the initial attempt does not dislodge the object and the person remains choking, repeat the abdominal thrusts until the obstruction is cleared or until professional medical help arrives.

6. Call for Emergency Assistance:
If the choking victim becomes unconscious or the obstruction persists, immediately call emergency services or ask someone nearby to do so. CPR and additional measures may be necessary in such cases.

7. Monitor the Person:
After the obstruction is cleared, closely monitor the individual for any signs of respiratory distress or other complications. Seek medical attention even if the person appears to have fully recovered to ensure no further medical intervention is needed.


Knowing how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver is a vital skill that can save lives in choking emergencies. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above and drawing insights from MyCPR NOW, you can respond promptly and effectively in such situations. Remember to assess the situation, position yourself correctly, encourage coughing initially, and perform abdominal thrusts to dislodge the obstruction. Repeat the maneuver if necessary, and don't hesitate to call for emergency assistance. Regular training and practice can help you maintain confidence and proficiency in performing the Heimlich Maneuver.

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