Obstructed Airway Rescues for Conscious Adults and Children

In standard first aid training, available now in Vancouver, participants will learn to clear an airway obstruction and restore normal breathing to a conscious victim. Using simulated victims participants will practise how to effectively remove a obstruction from a patients airway. Candidates will also learn to handle complications such as pregnant, obese, tall, short and differently-able victims. The material posted on this page is for information purposes only. If you want to learn how to rescue conscious choking victims register for a standard first aid course.

In order to successfully complete standard first aid training rescuers must complete the following steps when rescuing choking victims:

  • Assess the environment for any hazards and assess the victims level or degree of obstruction.
  • Ask the patient, “Are you choking?”
  • Prior to any aid, rescuer must ask for permission and identify him or herself as trained in first aid.
  • Rescuer must select the appropriate procedure from the following list:

Mild / Partial Obstruction:

  • Rescuer should encourage the victim to continue coughing.
  • Rescuer should reassure the patient.
    Mild obstruction - choking

    Mild obstruction – choking

  • Severe / Full Obstruction:
  • Rescuer should call / shout for help.
  • Rescuer should landmark appropriately for 5 chest thrust or abdominal thrusts alternating with 5 back blows until the obstruction is cleared. Candidates need to be aware of when to use chest thrusts and when to use abdominal (“J”) thrusts.
  • If rescuer is successful he or she needs to direct the patient to seek immediate medical attention to rule out any complications.

If the patient becomes unresponsive / unconscious:

  • Rescuer must effectively and efficiently notify EMS and obtain a AED.
  • Rescuer should perform 30 chest compressions.
  • After 30 chest compressions are complete the rescuer should check the mouth prior to attempting to ventilate.
  • If the ventilation is unsuccessful, the rescuer should attempt to readjust the airway and attempt to ventilate again.
  • Rescuer will continue the sequence of 30 chest compressions, checking the mouth and attempting to ventilating until successful.
  • An AED should not be applied until the obstruction has been cleared.

Rescuing a conscious patient with an obstruction involves more detailed than posted here. This page is designed to help guide participants through the necessary requirements to complete a standard first aid course and to show potential candidates the material they will be learning. Candidates will also learn self-rescue techniques and how to respond to different types of complications not mentioned above.