What Is The Heimlich Maneuver?



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The Heimlich maneuver is a first aid technique used to resuscitate (revive) choking and drowning victims. It was developed by Henry J. Heimlich (1920—) of Xavier University, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Heimlich maneuver is a method of removing a foreign body from the trachea (windpipe) or pharynx (the tube through which food passes from the mouth to the digestive tract), where it is preventing flow of air to the lungs.

To apply the Heimlich maneuver on a victim in the vertical position, stand behind the victim and wrap your arms around the victim's waist. Make a fist with one hand and place it against the victim's abdomen, between the navel and the rib cage. Place your other hand over your fist and press in with a quick, forceful thrust. Repeat several times if necessary.

If the victim is lying down (which some experts recommend for this procedure), straddle the victim's thighs and proceed as described above.

Sources: Harris, Harry. Good Old-Fashioned Yankee Ingenuity, pp. 143-44; Thomas, Clayton L. Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 17th ed., pp. 793-95.

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