fist between the navel and just under the rib cage.Then the rescuer presses the fist inward and upward. The action, when appliedcorrectly, pushes the diaphragm inward and upward. This action compresses the lungs,which causes a substantial flow of air through the airway and out the mouth, expelling the
choking object and saving the victim’s life.
Repeat the action above until the food or object is expelled from the airway.Dr. Henry Heimlich, developer of the Heimlich maneuver, became interested inthe problem of saving choking victims in 1972. He was a thoracic surgeon, associateclinical professor at University of Cincinnati and director of surgery at The JewishHospital in Cincinnati. He conducted research on an anaesthetized beagle and did studieson himself and 10 other doctors, measuring the huge flow of air coming out of the mouth.He proved that pressing the diaphragm upward, compressing the lungs, couldcarry a piece of food out of airway and out of the mouth. Hitting the back or squeezingthe rigid chest does not produce any air flow. By 1974, his treatment had developed intowhat became known as the Heimlich maneuver.In 1985, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop ruled in his Public Health Reports
that administering backslaps to a choking victim is “hazardous, even lethal.” He also
urged the American Red Cross (ARC) and American Heart Association to teach only the
Heimlich maneuver in their first aid classes, and to withdraw from circulation “manuals,
posters, materials that recommend treating choking victims with back slaps and blows to
The ARC did not comply. Today, its website erroneously recommends fivebackslaps, then five Heimlich maneuvers to treat choking victims. The Red Cross has