Heimlich maneuver, emergency procedure used to treat choking victims whose airway is obstructed by food or another substance. It forces air from the lungs through the windpipe, pushing the obstruction out. If the victim is standing, the rescuer wraps his (or her) arms around the victim's waist; making a fist with one hand and placing the thumb side of the fist against the abdomen just above the navel, the rescuer grasps the fist with the other hand and presses in with firm, quick, upward thrusts.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.