LifeVac is a fairly new device invented to help prevent choking deaths. Particularly helpful when abdominal thrusts (or Heimlich Maneuver) not effective. LifeVac uses suction at the airway, rather than upward pressure at the diaphragm, to dislodge foreign bodies in the airway.
On Nov. 23rd, a 3-year old child with Down’s Syndrome at the “Exit Cafe” at Athens International Airport was choking on food. The staff attempted 5 back blows and 5 abdominal thrusts, but the child lost consciousness. The restaurant had a wall-mounted LifeVac, and used it. In one attempt, it pulled the object out of the child’s throat. Child coughed and breathing was restored. This is the 17th official recorded save for the LifeVac product.
We think that choking is no longer a problem in the U.S., since so many people have been trained in Heimlich technique. It is true some 4,500 per year report saves from using Heimlich on a choking person. Also true there are still some 5,000 deaths per year in the U.S. from choking. About 1/2 of those deaths are victims over the age of 75.
Some have advertised that LifeVac “replaces abdominal thrusts”. We say “not true”. But, this excellent product is certainly a great $69 supplement to using abdominal thrusts. The life-saving product has been proven to be extremely useful when abdominal thrusts are not effective.