Everyone who takes a first aid class learns how to do the Heimlich maneuver to remove an airway obstruction from an adult choking victim’s throat. They are also taught the proper procedure for administering back blows to save an infant or toddler that is choking (the Heimlich maneuver is not recommended for children under the age of one year). But what if the victim is too large for the rescuer to get their hands around? Or what if back blows or abdominal thrusts just aren’t working? Introducing the LifeVac Airway Clearance Device.
The LifeVac Airway Clearance Device is one of those simple concepts that lead to brilliant design. At the time of this article, over 135 lives have been saved by using this small, ingenious suction device, and the number increases daily! The system has a handle with an accordion-style air chamber, and a mask similar to those used when administering rescue breaths during CPR or oxygen to a patient. The mask is placed over the victim’s mouth to form a seal, the user pushes the air out of the chamber in one movement, and then pulls the handle back – creating suction which dislodges any item stuck in the victim’s throat.
Who can the LifeVac be used on?
The LifeVac can be used on victims as small as 22 pounds, and can be engaged while the patient is in any position. While abdominal thrusts rely on the victim standing upright to be effective, the LifeVac is designed to be used anywhere, at any time, on just about anyone.
Who can use the LifeVac?
The simple design makes it easy to use by anyone who can pull the handle back. From children to the elderly, the LifeVac makes it easy for anyone to save lives.
Who should keep a LifeVac on hand?
Any facility or household where there is a risk of choking should invest in the LifeVac. This is especially true in facilities where there are higher numbers of the elderly, disabled, or young children.
Can the LifeVac be used more than once?
No, the device is a one-time use item for sanitary reasons, but the great news is if it is used to save a life, the user can contact the LifeVac company to report the save and they will replace it free of charge. It can be used more than once during an instance of obstruction on the same victim until the item is dislodged.
Can I use the LifeVac on myself?
YES! As long as you are conscious you can use the device to dislodge an obstruction on yourself.
The bottom line
The truth is, the Lifevac works, it’s simple, it’s easy, and it’s inexpensive. Everyone who lives with someone at risk for choking should have one on hand.