Advanced Life Support (ALS) Level 3 (VTQ)

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Adult choking overview

Video 108 of 117
4 min 40 sec
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Understanding Adult Choking: Causes and Response

The Airway and Its Crucial Role

Exploring the Essentials of Airway Function

Understanding adult choking begins with appreciating the vital role of the airway - a passage designed exclusively for the flow of air. Here's what you need to know:

  • The Airway: Comprises a tube leading to two bags, facilitating uninterrupted airflow.
  • Choking Impact: Choking disrupts this airflow, triggering panic in the victim due to the impending oxygen deprivation.
  • Challenging Situations: Handling a choking patient can be distressing as they may resist assistance to safeguard their airway instinctively.

Efficient Response Strategies

Swift Actions to Address Choking

Effective intervention during a choking incident is essential. Rapid response and patient cooperation play pivotal roles in achieving a successful outcome. Here's how:

Immediate Assistance

Utilizing Patient Cooperation and Quick Action

  • Early Intervention: Prompt action is crucial, and patients can actively assist in their own rescue, making the process more manageable.
  • Encourage Coughing: Patients can help dislodge obstructions through back slaps, coughing, and clearing their airway.
  • Optimal Positioning: Addressing choking while the patient is upright or mobile is preferable, as it allows for more effective interventions.

Abdominal Thrust Technique

Correct Application for Airway Clearance

Performing the abdominal thrust, commonly known as the Heimlich maneuver, involves:

  • Technique Description: Apply upward and inward force just below the sternum, aiming to compress the lungs and expel the obstruction.
  • Forceful Execution: The maneuver must be swift and forceful, mimicking the pressure created by a punch to the stomach.

Resuscitation Process

Transitioning to CPR for Collapsed Patients

If back blows and abdominal thrusts fail to resolve the choking incident, and the patient collapses, initiate the resuscitation process:

  • Compression Sequence: Begin with 30 chest compressions.
  • Airway Check: Assess if compressions dislodge any obstructions in the throat before administering two rescue breaths.
  • Direction Matters: The objective is to move the obstruction either upwards (via compressions) or downwards (via breaths) to restore airflow.

Special Considerations

Adapting Techniques for Unique Situations

Choking incidents can vary, and responders must adapt to different scenarios:

Pregnant Patients

Safe Approaches for Pregnant Women

When dealing with choking in pregnant individuals:

  • Chest Compressions: Instead of abdominal thrusts, apply chest compressions to force air out and clear the airway.
  • Considered Approach: Pregnancy alters abdominal dynamics, necessitating a different technique.

Obese Patients

Effective Response for Heavier Individuals

Responding to choking in obese patients may require adaptations:

  • Challenges with Grasping: Difficulty in encircling the patient may lead to the use of chest compressions when necessary.
  • Urgency Remains: Regardless of body size, clearing the airway promptly is essential for a successful outcome.

Timely and appropriate actions are paramount in managing choking incidents.