Causes of Airway Obstruction – Choking

Candidates enrolled in CPR HCP and any CPR course provided through St Mark James will learn about the causes of and how to prevent airway obstructions, also known as choking. This page will outline the most common causes of airway obstructions. For more information about airway obstructions take a CPR HCP class in Edmonton. St Mark James training providers are located throughout Canada. Visit our location page to find a training partner near you.

The most common obstruction or blockage is caused by the human tongue. This occurs in a unresponsive patient that has lost voluntary control of the muscles of the mouth and throat which has then caused the tongue to slip back. This can occur when the patient is flat / supine. A simple head-tilt-chin lift manoeuvre can clear the obstruction. When a rescuer is searching for foreign bodies on a unconscious patient loose-fitting dentures or broken teeth must be removed. Vomit and blood can also obstruct the airway and should be removed with a careful finger sweep with a gloved hand.

Foreign bodies are the second leading cause of airway obstructions. Grapes, sausages and gum are the leading cause of airway obstructions. However, thousands of other foreign objects can cause a victim to choke. Grapes, sausages and gum fit the ideal size for a airway, are rugged and can take strong coughs that try to remove the obstruction which make them the leading cause of foreign object choking.

To prevent choking participants should engage in and promote eating while sitting or in a relaxed position. Quick consumption of food while mobile and active significantly increase the chances of choking. To prevent choking, especially for children, people should enjoy their food, eat slowly and relax.

To learn more about causes of airway obstructions and to learn to demonstrate and provide care for both severe and mild obstructions take a CPR HCP Course or any CPR course through a credible provider such as St Mark James. A short CPR course can give candidates the skills to save a life.