Quick Chart
  • Foreign bodies may cause either mild or severe airway obstruction.
Clinical Presentation

General Signs of Choking

  • Attack occurs while eating
  • Patient may clutch at neck

Signs of Mild airway obstruction

  • Patient able to speak, cough and breathe

Signs of severe airway obstruction

  • Patient unable to speak
  • Attempts at coughing are silent
  • Wheeze
  • Unconscious
  • Unable to breathe
Exclusion Criteria
Exclusion Criteria
Risk Assessment

Back Blows:

  • Stand to the side and slightly behind patient
  • Support the chest with one hand and lean the patient forwards
  • Give up to 5 sharp blows between the­ scapulae at a 90° with the heel of the hand
  • Check after each back blow to see if airway obstruction has been relieved.

Chest Thrusts:

  • Identify the same compression point as for CPR
  • Give up to five chest thrusts which are similar to chest compressions but sharper and delivered at a slower rate
Primary Care

If patient showing signs of mild airway obstruction

  • Encourage coughing
  • Constant observation preparing for deterioration

If patient shows signs of severe airway obstruction and is conscious

  • Give up to 5 back blows
  • If back blows fail to relieve airway obstruction give up to 5 chest thrusts
  • If obstruction still unrelieved continue alternating 5 back blows with chest thrusts
If patient becomes unconscious
Intermediate Care (EMT / Level 2)
  • As per Primary Care guidelines
Advanced Care (AP)
Critical & Extended Care (CCP, PSO)
  • As per Advanced Care (AP) guidelines
Additional Information
  • N / A

Key Terms & Links
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Document Control

Clinical Services

Responsible Manager
Head of Clinical Services

Published Date

Review Date

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