Choking - unconscious adult or child over 1 year - Overview
Heimlich maneuver - unconscious adult or child over 1 year
Definition of Choking - unconscious adult or child over 1 year:
Choking is when someone cannot breathe because food, a toy, or other object is blocking the throat or windpipe (airway).
This article discusses choking in adults or children over age 1 who have lost alertness (are unconscious).
Choking may result from a complete or partial blockage of the airway.
- A complete blockage is a medical emergency.
- A partial blockage can quickly become life threatening if the person cannot properly breathe.
Without oxygen, permanent brain damage can occur in as little as 4 - 6 minutes. Rapid first aid for choking can save a life.
Choking may be caused by:
- Eating too fast, failing to chew food well enough, or eating with poorly fitting dentures
- Drinking alcohol (even a small amount of alcohol affects awareness)
- Being unconscious and breathing in vomit
- Breathing in or swallowing small objects (young children)
- Injury to the head and face (for example, swelling, bleeding, or deformity can cause choking)
- Reviewed last on: 7/16/2011
- Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, Clinic. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Manno M. Pediatric respiratory emergencies: Upper airway obstruction and infections. In: Marx J, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009: chap 166.
Thomas SH, Brown DFM. Foreign bodies. In: Marx J, ed. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009: chap 57.
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