Title: Understanding Heimlich Maneuver: Insights by Dr. Yılmaz ZENGİN from Memorial Hospital
Introduction: Prepare to explore the secrets of life-saving first aid techniques in this comprehensive guide prepared by Dr. Yılmaz ZENGİN from Memorial Hospital. This blog, focusing on the Heimlich Maneuver, aims to provide an expert doctor’s perspective in English, ensuring original and high-quality content. The language structure will be crafted by a medical professional, adhering to SEO rules, and designed to keep the reader engaged. Additionally, five tags, separated by commas and without the ‘#’ symbol, are requested, ensuring uniqueness and comprehensiveness.
Heimlich Maneuver Defined: The Heimlich Maneuver, named after its creator Henry Heimlich, involves applying sudden and manual pressure from the upper part of the abdomen upwards to the trachea to dislodge a foreign object causing choking. Widely used in adults and children, this maneuver is not recommended for infants. Also known as abdominal thrusts, it involves pushing into the abdomen.
Table of Contents:
- What is the Heimlich Maneuver?
- When and Whom is the Heimlich Maneuver Applied to?
- How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver?
- Performing the Heimlich Maneuver Alone
- Frequently Asked Questions about the Heimlich Maneuver
What is the Heimlich Maneuver? Named after Henry Heimlich, this first aid procedure involves applying horizontal pressure with a fist to the upper part of the abdomen of a person choking on a foreign object in the trachea. This maneuver, also known as abdominal thrusts, aims to remove the obstruction blocking the upper airway, allowing the person to breathe again.
The Heimlich maneuver is particularly suited for conscious individuals. While commonly performed on adults and children, it is not recommended for infants.
If the choking person can cough forcefully and comfortably, allow them to continue coughing as it might naturally dislodge the trapped object. If the person cannot cough normally, speak, cry, or laugh, the Heimlich maneuver should be administered promptly.
Indications of the person being unable to speak comfortably, having difficulty breathing, or being unable to cough effectively are signs that the Heimlich maneuver is necessary. During choking, the supply of oxygen to the brain is compromised, initiating a process that poses a life-threatening risk. In such cases, assuming the Heimlich maneuver position and attempting to remove the foreign object from the trachea is crucial.
When and Whom is the Heimlich Maneuver Applied to? The Heimlich maneuver is applied to conscious adults and children who cannot speak, cough comfortably, or breathe. However, it is not recommended for infants. Also known as abdominal thrusts, this maneuver elevates the diaphragm, facilitating the expulsion of air from the lungs, making it easier to expel the obstructing foreign object.
The Heimlich maneuver should not be applied if the person is unresponsive. In such cases, immediate medical attention is required, and emergency services (call 112) should be contacted.
How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver? The Heimlich maneuver is applied when an individual is conscious but at risk of choking due to a foreign object in the trachea.
- Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around their abdomen.
- Create a horizontal fist between the chest and the navel.
- Tilt the person parallel to the ground and apply pressure by thrusting five times from behind.
Ensure the person is conscious during this process. The Heimlich maneuver is suitable for individuals who are conscious but experiencing difficulty speaking, breathing, or coughing effectively. It should not be performed on unconscious individuals, especially infants.
Step-by-step instructions for the Heimlich maneuver:
- Lift the person to a standing position.
- Position yourself behind them.
- Wrap your arms around their waist and abdomen.
- Create a horizontal fist between the chest and navel.
- Tilt the person parallel to the ground.
- Once in position, perform five inward and upward thrusts from behind.
- Repeat until the foreign object is expelled, and the person can breathe comfortably.
The Heimlich maneuver for pregnant individuals involves applying pressure towards the sternum instead of the abdomen.
If the person choking is under one year old, follow these steps:
- Turn the baby face down with their chest resting on your forearm.
- Ensure their head is lower than their body.
- Use the heel of your hand to strike the baby’s back between the shoulder blades five times. Strikes should be firm but not forceful enough to cause injury.
- Check the baby’s mouth and remove visible objects.
- Recheck the baby’s mouth for visible objects until the foreign object is expelled or the baby loses consciousness.
Performing the Heimlich Maneuver Alone: In a scenario where only one person is present, and there is a risk of choking due to a foreign object, place one hand’s index finger on the upper part of the stomach, below the ribcage, creating a fist with the other hand. Apply simultaneous inward and upward pressure five times until the foreign object is expelled, allowing the person to breathe and cough. If needed, support your abdomen against a table corner or the back of a chair.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Heimlich Maneuver:
- What does the Heimlich maneuver mean?
- The Heimlich maneuver is defined as a rapid first aid procedure involving the removal of a foreign object from the trachea.
- How many times is the Heimlich maneuver performed?
- The maneuver is performed five times consecutively, checking whether the foreign object has been expelled. Repeat until the object is removed.
- Is the Heimlich maneuver applied to infants?
- The Heimlich maneuver can be applied to children aged one and above. For infants, back blows and chest compressions are recommended.
- When is the Heimlich maneuver not applied?
- The Heimlich maneuver is not applied to unconscious individuals. Immediate medical attention should be sought.
- What should be done if the Heimlich maneuver is ineffective?
- If the foreign object does not dislodge, and the person loses consciousness, initiate basic life support immediately. Call 112 for professional assistance and ensure the person reaches a suitable healthcare facility safely and quickly.