Most of us are no stranger to the Heimlich Maneuver. We know the international sign for choking and can, at the very least, identify when someone is choking. But what do you do if a choking victim is unconscious and you cannot administer the Heimlich? If the Heimlich isn’t successful, then what? How do you know if an unconscious victim is choking or are in sudden cardiac arrest?
Knowing the answer to these questions BEFORE an emergency can mean the difference between life and death.
1. Call 911.
2. Immediately begin CPR compressions at a depth of 2”, in sets of 30, with 2 rescue breaths after each set. Pumping chest compressions to Queen’s tune of “Another One Bites the Dust” will help to deliver the proper number of compressions of 100-120/minute. Rescue breaths should be just enough for the rescuer to see the victim’s chest start to rise. Chest compressions not only continue the flow of oxygen, but can actually dislodge the foreign object.
3. Following the first set of compressions, tilt the victim’s head back to open their airway and pull their lower jaw down in order to look into their throat. If you see an object and can safely remove it, do so. However, do not do a blind sweep, as you could push the object further down. Also, fingernails can scratch the soft tissue, especially in babies and young children.
If there are no witnesses to the person falling unconscious, it can be difficult to know if they are in fact choking. An unconscious person, who is choking, may appear cyanotic (blue) in their face or fingers. But the good news is that whether the victim is choking or has experienced sudden cardiac arrest, the process is largely the same and can provide life saving help in either case.
1. Immediately begin 30 CPR compressions at a depth of 1 1/2” using two fingers, followed by 2 rescue breaths.
2. Call 911 after the first set of 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths.
For a conscious infant, flip infant face down, along your forearm with baby’s head lower than their chest. Administer 5 firm back blows between baby’s shoulder blades, followed by chest compressions as described above.
NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEBSITE.