LifeVac: Don’t choke on the consequences!

06 Nov, 2018

With 220 deaths reported in 2016 as a result of choking, prevention methods are something that should be discussed. Data collected by the office for national statistics shows that 85% of choking deaths were caused by food in 2016. The report shows that choking is increased in hospital patients and nursing home residents over any other demographic group with over 100 deaths from individuals 60 years old or over¹

A recent article from the Care Quality Commission² highlighted that a care home was fined a whopping sum of £82,429.72. This was due to a lack of basic patient understanding lead to the resident being hospitalised. The home closed shortly after. The patient suffered with swallowing difficulties which restricted what he could eat and drink. The precautions were not taken into consideration, which caused the patient to choke on his porridge. Whilst it is an unfortunate incident, it showcases the importance of awareness and risk factors that can cause choking and the consequences of not being prepared.

Limitations of the Heimlich

The Heimlich manoeuvre can be effective in many situations but at times, can fail. After a distressing conversation in a hospital waiting room with a mourning parent after the failure of the Heimlich manoeuvre, Arthur Lih decided to dedicate himself to create a lifesaving apparatus. With the help of Dr. Brody and a few close friends, the LifeVac was invented³. With its unique design, the LifeVac is to be placed over the mouth. It is then pushed to lock valves, restricting further air putting pressure on any lodged food or objects.

The negative pressure generated by the force of the suction is 3 times greater than the highest recorded abdominal thrust. The LifeVac is capable of generating over 300 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) suction. Like a toilet plunger, you retract the device and the air pressure retracts the lodged object.

Read more, and find out when you should use LifeVac here.

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