​Foreign Object Swallowed  

Usually if a foreign object is swallowed it would naturally pass through digestive system without much if any consequence. However, swallowing such objects can be dangerous as they can lodge in the esophagus and it might need to be removed, especially if: 

  • The object was sharp.
  • The object contained a button battery. ​Foreign Object Swallowed

What to do if the swallowed object blocks the airway?

Call for emergency medical assistance (Dial 997) and while waiting for help, follow the American Red Cross "five-and-five" approach:

  • First, deliver five back blows between the victim's shoulder blades with the heel of your hand.
  • Next, perform five abdominal thrusts (also known as the Heimlich maneuver).
  • Alternate between five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until the blockage is dislodged.  

How to perform the Heimlich maneuver on someone else?

  • From behind, tip the person slightly forward and wrap your arms around his or her waist.
  • Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim's upper abdomen, below the ribcage and above the navel.
  • Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into their upper abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Do not squeeze the ribcage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands.
  • Repeat until object is expelled.

How to perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself?

  • Set a fist a little above the navel.
  • Grasp your fist with the other hand and bend over a hard surface — the back of a chair or against a railing or counter.
  • Give yourself abdominal thrusts by shoving your fist inward and upward.
  • If you cannot perform the thrust, position yourself against the surface and press forcefully enough into it so that the thrust dislodges the object.


This information is provided by the NGHA Content Advisory Board and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your health care provider

Last Modified

23-Mar-2015 01:19 PM