How to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver ®

When someone is choking, he or she can’t speak or breathe. The chocking victim may put a hand to the throat, the universal sign that says, “I am choking!” Quick action is needed. A victim has only about four minutes before experiencing asphyxia, brain damage, or death.
victim

1.

Standing victim—rescuer’s arms can reach around victim:

A choking victim can’t speak or breathe and needs your help immediately. Follow these steps to help a choking victim:

  • From behind, wrap your arms around victim’s waist.
  • Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against victim’s upper abdomen, below the ribcage, and just above the navel.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into victim’s abdomen with a quick, upward pressure. Do not squeeze the ribcage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands.
  • Repeat until object is expelled.

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2.

Unconscious victim or when rescuer cannot reach around victim:

  • Place victim on back.
  • Kneel astride victim’s hips, facing the victim.
  • With one of your hands on top of the other, place the heel of your bottom hand on the abdomen, below the rib cage and just above the navel.
  • Use your body weight to press into the victim’s abdomen with a quick, upward pressure.
  • Repeat until object is expelled.

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3.

Performing the Heimlich Maneuver on yourself

  • Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against your abdomen, below the ribcage, and just above the navel.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into your abdomen with a quick, upward pressure.
  • Repeat until object is expelled.

Alternatively, you can lean over a fixed horizontal object, such as a table edge, chair, or railing and press your abdomen against the edge to produce a quick, upward pressure. Repeat until the object is expelled.

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