How is the injury recognized? An adult who is unconscious as a result of choking will be unresponsive. The rescuer will be unable to push air into the lungs with mouth-to-mouth breathing. Bystanders may report an episode of choking, followed by unconsciousness.
What are the treatments for the injury? First aid for an unconscious adult who has choked includes the following:
Check for signs of circulation, such as normal breathing, coughing, or movement in response to stimulation.
Start cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, if the person stops breathing. Use 15 chest compressions for every 2 mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths.
If the person starts breathing, place him or her in a side-lying position and monitor closely.
Stay with the person until medical help arrives.
What are the side effects of the treatments? The chest compressions of CPR can cause vomiting, injuries to internal organs, or broken ribs. Vomiting can be a problem if the vomit is caught in the airway and inhaled into the lungs. There is a possibility that none of the procedures may work, and the person may still choke, remain unconscious, or even die.
What happens after treatment for the injury? It is important to obtain medical care from a healthcare professional. Occasionally, an object will enter the lung instead of being expelled. This can cause coughing, wheezing, or aspiration pneumonia.
Author: James Broomfield, MD Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN Last Updated: 12/08/00 Contributors Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request
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