THE HEIMLICH maneuver has recently been adopted as the standard treatment for the obstructed airway in children, adolescents, and adults.1 These same standards and guidelines caution that the Heimlich maneuver should only be used in near-drowning situations when the rescuer suspects that foreign matter is obstructing the airway or the victim does not respond appropriately to mouth-to-mouth ventilation. Heimlich and his colleagues2-5 have been calling for the maneuver to be the first line of treatment for near-drowning victims, to remove water from the lungs and airways. Others have argued that the routine performance of the maneuver without first demonstrating airway obstruction with foreign matter is a waste of valuable time and might produce complications.6-9
This case report describes a neardrowning victim whose first step of treatment with the Heimlich maneuver resulted in emesis with aspiration, which complicated what otherwise should have been a routine resuscitation.
Orlowski JP. Vomiting as a Complication of the Heimlich Maneuver. JAMA. 1987;258(4):512–513. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400040110033