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Definition: Heimlich maneuver from The Columbia Encyclopedia

emergency procedure used to treat choking victims whose airway is obstructed by food or another substance. It forces air from the lungs through the windpipe, pushing the obstruction out. If the victim is standing, the rescuer wraps his (or her) arms around the victim's waist; making a fist with one hand and placing the thumb side of the fist against the abdomen just above the navel, the rescuer grasps the fist with the other hand and presses in with firm, quick, upward thrusts.


Summary Article: Heimlich manoeuvre
from Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable

An emergency technique to treat someone who is choking. The rescuer embraces the choking victim from behind, beneath the rib cage, then presses a closed fist under the breastbone with a quick upward thrust. This should dislodge food or any other object from the person's windpipe. There is also a 'Heimlich's sign' to indicate that one is choking, made by grasping one's neck between the thumb and index finger of one hand, a natural reaction for many victims in any case. The name is that of Henry J. Heimlich (b.1920), the American surgeon who devised the procedure.

Copyright © Cassell / The Orion Publishing Group Ltd 2000, 2009

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