[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
March 21, 1980

Emergency Management of the Obstructed Airway

Author Affiliations

Committee on Emergency Medical Services National Academy of Sciences Washington, DC
From the Committee on Emergency Medical Services, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 1980;243(11):1141-1142. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300370015016

THE REPORT to the American Red Cross on emergency management of the obstructed airway by the Committee on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has been challenged. Specifically, Henry Heimlich, MD, and Edward A. Patrick, MD, charge that, in the sequence of maneuvers recommended by the NAS, ie, rapid and vigorous backslaps followed by manual thrusts, the backslaps can drive an object deeper into the throat and thus cause death.1-3 Dr Heimlich contends that only the manual thrusts should be used. Since disagreement has resulted in confusion in the minds of the medical profession as well as the public, it seems appropriate to present a summary of the basis for the committee's recommendations. It must be understood that the disagreement is of a type that frequently occurs in science when data are inadequate to definitively prove or disprove strongly held opinions on an issue,