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Heimlich maneuver on self

The Heimlich maneuver is a first aid procedure used when a person is choking. If you are alone and you are choking, you can try to dislodge the item in your throat or windpipe by performing the Heimlich maneuver on yourself.

Information

When you are choking, your airway may be blocked so that not enough oxygen reaches the lungs. Without oxygen, brain damage can occur in as little as 4 to 6 minutes. Rapid first aid for choking can save your life.

If you are choking on something, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself. Follow these steps:

  1. Make a fist with one hand. Place the thumb of that hand below your rib cage and above your navel.
  2. Grasp your fist with your other hand. Press your fist forcibly into the upper abdominal area with a quick upward movement.

You can also lean over a table edge, chair, or railing. Quickly thrust your upper belly area (upper abdomen) against the edge.

If you need to, repeat this motion until the object blocking your airway comes out.

Choking first aid is a related topic.

References

Braithwaite SA, Perina D. Dyspnea. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 22.

Driver DE, Reardon RF. Basic airway management and decision making. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 3.

Rose E. Pediatric respiratory emergencies: upper airway obstruction and infections. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 167.

  • Heimlich maneuver on oneself

    Heimlich maneuver on oneself - illustration

    Choking is fairly common. Choking deaths occur most commonly in children less than 3 years and in senior citizens, but can occur at any age. The Heimlich maneuver has been valuable in saving lives and can be administered by anyone who has learned the technique. When no one else is around, the Heimlich maneuver can be performed as shown.

    Heimlich maneuver on oneself

    illustration

    • Heimlich maneuver on oneself

      Heimlich maneuver on oneself - illustration

      Choking is fairly common. Choking deaths occur most commonly in children less than 3 years and in senior citizens, but can occur at any age. The Heimlich maneuver has been valuable in saving lives and can be administered by anyone who has learned the technique. When no one else is around, the Heimlich maneuver can be performed as shown.

      Heimlich maneuver on oneself

      illustration

     

    Review Date: 4/25/2019

    Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Attending Physician at FDR Medical Services/Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Buffalo, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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