How to Do the Heimlich Maneuver

Choking Treatment for Adults

Waiter with arms around choking man's stomach in restaurant
How to do the Heimlich Maneuver. Betsie Van der Meer / Getty Images

Choking requires a quick response to remove the airway obstruction before it leads to unconsciousness. These steps are for conscious adults and children aged 1 to 8.

For infants under 1 year old, see infant choking.

To see a demonstration of this technique, watch the Heimlich Maneuver Video.

Here's How:

  1. Stay Safe! Remember victims may panic and inadvertently strike out.
  2. Establish that the victim is actually choking. Choking victims cannot speak, cough, or breathe.
  1. Stand behind the victim.
  2. Wrap your hands around the victim as if to give a hug.
  3. Make a fist with your right hand and place it just above the victim's belly button.
  4. Grab your fist with your left and thrust inwards and upwards forcefully.
  5. Repeat thrusts until the victim is able to breathe again, or until the victim becomes unconscious.
  6. If the victim becomes unconscious, begin adult CPR if the victim is over 8 years old and child CPR if the victim is between 1 and 8 years old.


ECC Committee, Subcommittees and Task Forces of the American Heart Association. "2005 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care." Circulation. 13 Dec 2005. PMID: 16314375