First Aid WorldWide Manual



Among the causes of death due to accidents, suffocation by a foreign body ranks high sixth. Children in the first three years of life usually suffocate with a foreign body, followed by older people. Children inhale a foreign body most often in the period when they switch from liquid and porridge to solid food, or when they put everything they can in their mouths because at that time they still do not distinguish food from various objects and toys. Older people inhale a foreign body because their swallowing reflexes are weakened, so a bite or an artificial jaw can enter the airways.

When a foreign body gets stuck in the throat, it completely or partially closes the opening of the trachea, blocking the flow of air. The most diverse are foreign bodies that can lead to airway obstruction: undigested food, toys, grains, parts of dentures, extracted or broken teeth, larger clots after interventions in the oral cavity.

Obstruction of the trachea and trachea by inhaled foreign contents leads to their complete or partial closure, which is manifested by sudden cessation of breathing, or difficulty breathing in partial obstruction. Inhaled foreign body can be in solid (toys, grains, earth, sand), mushy (sludge, mud, gastric contents) and semi-liquid state.

 When completely impassable, the victim does not breathe, does not cough, cannot speak. He runs in panic, first pales and then floods. Due to the lack of oxygen in the brain, he loses consciousness in half a minute, then the heart stops working and death occurs in 4-7 minutes.

First Aid

A person who stands or sits with a closed fist is pressed strongly and abruptly over the middle between the lower edge of the sternum and the navel, and embraces the palm of the other fist. The abdomen is pressed inwards and upwards quickly and strongly. At the same time, the bony tip of the sternum must not be pressed, thus reducing the possibility of injuring organs inside the sternum. Five pressures are performed in depth and so the air from the lungs is pushed through the trachea to the larynx. That air pressure should expel the foreign body. After the first five procedures, one can try five strong blows between the shoulder blades. He then tries again with five Heimlich interventions. Only in obese people and pregnant women, that area cannot be covered, so it is pressed over the lower third of the sternum, over the place where the pressure is normally applied during external cardiac massage. Heimlich’s procedures are performed either until the foreign body is successfully expelled or until the person loses consciousness. Then you need to clean the throat by hand and put the person in a lateral position (if he is breathing after we have removed a foreign body). If we have removed a foreign body and the person is not breathing, he should be given artificial respiration.

If the person is unconscious, five Heimlich procedures are applied again first. Then, with his fingers, very careful not to push the foreign body even deeper, he tries to pull the end of the foreign body out of the larynx. If there is no one to help, the injured person can throw himself on the edge of the back of the chair, or something similar, part of the abdomen between the navel and the lower edge of the sternum, or first press himself with the fist of the other hand.

As with adults, it is done with children between 1 and 8 years of age, but with the palm of only one hand. In children in the first year of life, it starts with five blows to the back between the shoulder blades. If that doesn’t work, Heimlich’s procedure is applied, but not as in adults, but as in external cardiac massage, over the middle middle third of the sternum (between the nipples), with two fingers. Removing a foreign body protruding from the larynx of a small child is very risky because it can easily be pushed deeper.