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Mayo Clinic First Aid: the Heimlich Maneuver and CPR

2010 October 11

Happy Monday! This is still Annie- you are at the right website. I am legitimately happy about Monday. Once I tell you about my weekend, you might believe me.

I won’t go into detail but know that it was a great one until Sunday when I began to choke on my sandwich at a local restaurant. Greg saved me by performing a successful Heimlich maneuver. No one, besides the two of us, knew thanks to the enormous booth we were sitting in which was both comforting and bothersome at the same time.

Scary is an understatement. Not breathing and constantly attempting to release the obstruction yourself without success is something I never want others to experience but if it does happen, I want you to know the steps of First Aid towards choking recovery on yourself and others.

So I say happy Monday because I’m still here and lucky that it didn’t end in another way. It’s a reminder, a rude one, to be excited about life, grateful for a future and for my amazing husband (who I scared rather well-he kept holding my hand and hugging me the rest of the day).

Please review the signs of choking and steps to help from the Mayo Clinic. (I’m simply going to quote that information…I know most information on the web is wrong when it comes to medical help. If not from me, participate in your local class or obtain a how-to from a trusted medical source. This makes me want to renew my certification.)

If this is the case and if you are interested in knowing, I’m taking time today to tell you instructions on how to perform First Aid for adults, children and infants, or if you are alone, the Heimlich maneuver and CPR to be specific, as quoted by the Mayo Clinic.

First Aid- advised by the Mayo Clinic

Choking:
“Choking occurs when a foreign object becomes lodged in the throat or windpipe, blocking the flow of air. In adults, a piece of food often is the culprit. Young children often swallow small objects. Because choking cuts off oxygen to the brain, administer first aid as quickly as possible.

The universal sign for choking is hands clutched to the throat. If the person doesn’t give the signal, look for these indications:
• Inability to talk
• Difficulty breathing or noisy breathing
• Inability to cough forcefully
• Skin, lips and nails turning blue or dusky
• Loss of consciousness

If choking is occurring, the Red Cross recommends a “five-and-five” approach to delivering first aid:
• First, deliver five back blows between the person’s shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
• Next, perform five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver).
• Alternate between five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.

To perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on someone else:
• Stand behind the person. Wrap your arms around the waist. Tip the person forward slightly.
• Make a fist with one hand. Position it slightly above the person’s navel.
• Grasp the fist with the other hand. Press hard into the abdomen with a quick, upward thrust — as if trying to lift the person up.
• Perform a total of five abdominal thrusts, if needed. If the blockage still isn’t dislodged, repeat the five-and-five cycle.

If you’re the only rescuer, perform back blows and abdominal thrusts before calling 911 or your local emergency number for help. If another person is available, have that person call for help while you perform first aid.

If the person becomes unconscious, perform standard CPR with chest compressions.

If you’re alone and choking, you’ll be unable to effectively deliver back blows to yourself. However, you can still perform abdominal thrusts to dislodge the item.

To perform abdominal thrusts (Heimlich maneuver) on yourself:
• Place a fist slightly above your navel.
• Grasp your fist with the other hand and bend over a hard surface — a countertop or chair will do.
• Shove your fist inward and upward.

Clearing the airway of a pregnant woman or obese person:
• Position your hands a little bit higher than with a normal Heimlich maneuver, at the base of the breastbone, just above the joining of the lowest ribs.
• Proceed as with the Heimlich maneuver, pressing hard into the chest, with a quick thrust.
• Repeat until the food or other blockage is dislodged or the person becomes unconscious.

Clearing the airway of an unconscious person:
• Lower the person on his or her back onto the floor.
• Clear the airway. If there’s a visible blockage at the back of the throat or high in the throat, reach a finger into the mouth and sweep out the cause of the blockage. Be careful not to push the food or object deeper into the airway, which can happen easily in young children.
• Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if the object remains lodged and the person doesn’t respond after you take the above measures. The chest compressions used in CPR may dislodge the object. Remember to recheck the mouth periodically.
Clearing the airway of a choking infant younger than age 1:
• Assume a seated position and hold the infant facedown on your forearm, which is resting on your thigh.
• Thump the infant gently but firmly five times on the middle of the back using the heel of your hand. The combination of gravity and the back blows should release the blocking object.
• Hold the infant face up on your forearm with the head lower than the trunk if the above doesn’t work. Using two fingers placed at the center of the infant’s breastbone, give five quick chest compressions.
• Repeat the back blows and chest thrusts if breathing doesn’t resume. Call for emergency medical help.
• Begin infant CPR if one of these techniques opens the airway but the infant doesn’t resume breathing.

If the child is older than age 1, give abdominal thrusts only.

To prepare yourself for these situations, learn the Heimlich maneuver and CPR in a certified first-aid training course.”

CPR:
“Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique useful in many emergencies, including heart attack or near drowning, in which someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. Ideally, CPR involves two elements: chest compressions combined with mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing.

However, what you as a bystander should do in an emergency situation really depends on your knowledge and comfort level.
The bottom line is that it’s far better to do something than to do nothing at all if you’re fearful that your knowledge or abilities aren’t 100 percent complete. Remember, the difference between your doing something and doing nothing could be someone’s life.

Here’s advice from the American Heart Association:
• Untrained. If you’re not trained in CPR, then provide hands-only CPR. That means uninterrupted chest compressions of about 100 a minute until paramedics arrive (described in more detail below). You don’t need to try rescue breathing.
• Trained, and ready to go. If you’re well trained, and confident in your ability, then you can opt for one of two approaches: 1. Alternate between 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths. 2. Just do chest compressions. (Details described below.)
• Trained, but rusty. If you’ve previously received CPR training, but you’re not confident in your abilities, then just do chest compressions at a rate of about 100 a minute. (Details described below.)

The above advice applies only to adults needing CPR, not to children.

CPR can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until more definitive medical treatment can restore a normal heart rhythm.

When the heart stops, the absence of oxygenated blood can cause irreparable brain damage in only a few minutes. A person may die within eight to 10 minutes.

To learn CPR properly, take an accredited first-aid training course, including CPR and how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

Before you begin

Before starting CPR, check:
• Is the person conscious or unconscious?
• If the person appears unconscious, tap or shake his or her shoulder and ask loudly, “Are you OK?”
• If the person doesn’t respond and two people are available, one should call 911 or the local emergency number and one should begin CPR. If you are alone and have immediate access to a telephone, call 911 before beginning CPR — unless you think the person has become unresponsive because of suffocation (such as from drowning). In this special case, begin CPR for one minute and then call 911.
• If an AED is immediately available, deliver one shock if instructed by the device, then begin CPR.

Remember the ABCs

Think ABC — airway, breathing and circulation — to remember the steps explained below. Move quickly through airway and breathing to begin chest compressions.

Airway: Clear the airway
1. Put the person on his or her back on a firm surface.
2. Kneel next to the person’s neck and shoulders.
3. Open the person’s airway using the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver. Put your palm on the person’s forehead and gently tilt the head back. Then with the other hand, gently lift the chin forward to open the airway.
4. Check for normal breathing, taking no more than five or 10 seconds. Look for chest motion, listen for normal breath sounds, and feel for the person’s breath on your cheek and ear. Gasping is not considered to be normal breathing. If the person isn’t breathing normally and you are trained in CPR, begin mouth-to-mouth breathing. If you believe the person is unconscious from a heart attack and you haven’t been trained in emergency procedures, skip mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing and proceed directly to chest compressions.

Breathing: Breathe for the person
Rescue breathing can be mouth-to-mouth breathing or mouth-to-nose breathing if the mouth is seriously injured or can’t be opened.
1. With the airway open (using the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver), pinch the nostrils shut for mouth-to-mouth breathing and cover the person’s mouth with yours, making a seal.
2. Prepare to give two rescue breaths. Give the first rescue breath — lasting one second — and watch to see if the chest rises. If it does rise, give the second breath. If the chest doesn’t rise, repeat the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second breath.
3. Begin chest compressions to restore circulation.

Circulation: Restore blood circulation with chest compressions
1. Place the heel of one hand over the center of the person’s chest, between the nipples. Place your other hand on top of the first hand. Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders directly above your hands.
2. Use your upper body weight (not just your arms) as you push straight down on (compress) the chest 2 inches (approximately 5 centimeters). Push hard at a rate of 100 compressions a minute.
3. After 30 compressions, tilt the head back and lift the chin up to open the airway. Prepare to give two rescue breaths. Pinch the nose shut and breathe into the mouth for one second. If the chest rises, give a second rescue breath. If the chest doesn’t rise, repeat the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second rescue breath. That’s one cycle. If someone else is available, ask that person to give two breaths after you do 30 compressions. If you’re not trained in CPR and feel comfortable performing only chest compressions, skip rescue breathing and continue chest compressions at a rate of 100 compressions a minute until medical personnel arrive.
4. If the person has not begun moving after five cycles (about two minutes) and an automatic external defibrillator (AED) is available, apply it and follow the prompts. Administer one shock, then resume CPR — starting with chest compressions — for two more minutes before administering a second shock. If you’re not trained to use an AED, a 911 operator may be able to guide you in its use. Use pediatric pads, if available, for children ages 1 to 8. Do not use an AED for babies younger than age 1. If an AED isn’t available, go to step 5 below.
5. Continue CPR until there are signs of movement or until emergency medical personnel take over.

To perform CPR on a child
The procedure for giving CPR to a child age 1 through 8 is essentially the same as that for an adult. The differences are as follows:
• If you’re alone, perform five cycles of compressions and breaths on the child — this should take about two minutes — before calling 911 or your local emergency number or using an AED.
• Use only one hand to perform heart compressions.
• Breathe more gently.
• Use the same compression-breath rate as is used for adults: 30 compressions followed by two breaths. This is one cycle. Following the two breaths, immediately begin the next cycle of compressions and breaths.
• After five cycles (about two minutes) of CPR, if there is no response and an AED is available, apply it and follow the prompts. Use pediatric pads if available. If pediatric pads aren’t available, use adult pads.

Continue until the child moves or help arrives.

To perform CPR on a baby

Most cardiac arrests in babies occur from lack of oxygen, such as from drowning or choking. If you know the baby has an airway obstruction, perform first aid for choking. If you don’t know why the baby isn’t breathing, perform CPR.

To begin, examine the situation. Stroke the baby and watch for a response, such as movement, but don’t shake the baby.

If there’s no response, follow the ABC procedures below and time the call for help as follows:
• If you’re the only rescuer and CPR is needed, do CPR for two minutes — about five cycles — before calling 911 or your local emergency number.
• If another person is available, have that person call for help immediately while you attend to the baby.
Airway: Clear the airway
1. Place the baby on his or her back on a firm, flat surface, such as a table. The floor or ground also will do.
2. Gently tip the head back by lifting the chin with one hand and pushing down on the forehead with the other hand.
3. In no more than 10 seconds, put your ear near the baby’s mouth and check for breathing: Look for chest motion, listen for breath sounds, and feel for breath on your cheek and ear.

If the infant isn’t breathing, begin mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing immediately. Compressions-only CPR doesn’t work for infants.

Breathing: Breathe for the infant
1. Cover the baby’s mouth and nose with your mouth.
2. Prepare to give two rescue breaths. Use the strength of your cheeks to deliver gentle puffs of air (instead of deep breaths from your lungs) to slowly breathe into the baby’s mouth one time, taking one second for the breath. Watch to see if the baby’s chest rises. If it does, give a second rescue breath. If the chest does not rise, repeat the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second breath.
3. If the baby’s chest still doesn’t rise, examine the mouth to make sure no foreign material is inside. If the object is seen, sweep it out with your finger. If the airway seems blocked, perform first aid for a choking baby.
4. Begin chest compressions to restore blood circulation.

Circulation: Restore blood circulation
1. Imagine a horizontal line drawn between the baby’s nipples. Place two fingers of one hand just below this line, in the center of the chest.
2. Gently compress the chest to about one-third to one-half the depth of the chest.
3. Count aloud as you pump in a fairly rapid rhythm. You should pump at a rate of 100 compressions a minute.
4. Give two breaths after every 30 chest compressions.
5. Perform CPR for about two minutes before calling for help unless someone else can make the call while you attend to the baby.
6. Continue CPR until you see signs of life or until medical personnel arrive.”

5 Responses leave one →
  1. October 11, 2010

    Oh my goodness, I’m so glad that you are okay. What a terrifying experience. Thank goodness Greg knew what to do…I would hate to think of a different outcome. Thank you for sharing these important safety tips and rules for performing CPR and the Heimlich. I’m glad that I took a course a few years ago! My thoughts are with you!

    • October 12, 2010

      It’s such a great thing to keep up on and take time to think about each year! Thanks, Monet!

  2. October 12, 2010

    Glad you’re still alive and kicking! Whew!

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