Dangers of the Heimlich Maneuver for Esophageal Obstruction

Jeffrey S. Sams, Kevin R. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


To the Editor: In a letter entitled “Heimlich Maneuver for Esophageal Obstruction” (April 13 issue),1 Dr. Nelson described his successful use of the Heimlich maneuver in treating a high-esophageal obstruction caused by a hard candy his daughter had swallowed. I do not think that this practice can be safely recommended for the treatment of esophageal obstruction. This maneuver is associated with complications that include vomiting and aspiration,2 perforation of the esophagus, stomach, or jejunum,3 4 5 cardiac and great-vessel trauma,6,7 and herniation of the diaphragm8 and of the pneumomediastinum.9 The dangers are illustrated by the case of a woman who had esophageal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)980-981
Number of pages2
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 5 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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