Health & Medical

Things You Need To Know About the Heimlich Manoeuvre

Heimlich Manoeuvre
Written by Nancy

Choking is one of the leading causes of unintentional deaths worldwide. In fact, 54% of infants under the age of one die due to such incidents. Consequentially, it’s imperative to learn techniques which can reduce this risk.

The Heimlich Manoeuvre is one such first-aid technique that can be used to help a person till they can reach a hospital!

What is the Heimlich Manoeuvre?

The Heimlich Manoeuvre, also known as abdominal thrusts, is a basic first aid technique that’s used to remove trapped objects from a person’s windpipe. The Red Cross recommends pairing it with blows to the back.

What are the Symptoms of a Blocked Airway?

When someone around you is choking, they won’t be able to communicate that to you, since the first symptoms of choking is an inability to communicate. So, you need to infer this.

You can recognize a blocked airway if the person has a bright red or blue face, if they’re grabbing their throat, trying and failing to cough, or wheezing in their attempt to breathe.

How Should You Perform It?

Once you’ve identified these symptoms, ascertain if they’re choking, proceed to call 911, and perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre:

  • Ask them to stand up and position yourself behind them.
  • Then, make them lean forward and administer five blows to their back with the heel of your hand.
  • Next, put your arms around their waist, and push your fist inwards and upwards five times.
  • Keep on repeating this step until they expel the object blocking their windpipe.

Pregnant Women

If the person in question is a pregnant woman, you’ll have to adjust your hand placement so that it is around the base of their breastbone. If she ends up fainting, abandon the manoeuvre and start performing CPR.



In the case of infants, the manoeuvre slightly changes. You need to hold them face down on your arm, and holding their torso against thigh. Then give them five gentle blows on their back. If it doesn’t work, turn them around and give them chest compressions by placing two fingers on their breastbone. Repeat this until you expel the foreign object from their airway.

While we can explain it all to you theoretically, it will be quite difficult to perform, especially in pressurized situations when a person’s life is at stake. So, getting trained to perform it will enable you to help them and keep them alive until the emergency response team arrives.

To this end, get occupational first aid training courses from Metro Safety in British Columbia and acquire hand-on experience performing the technique. You will then be equipped will all the right tools to help save a life!

Contact them on 604 521 4227 for further details.

About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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