New Anti-Choking Devices Could Save Your Life

Nearly 5,000 people a year in the U.S. die from choking.

The Heimlich maneuver is the undisputed gold standard. But now, there are devices that offer an additional option. Anti-choking devices like Lifevac or Dechoker are available.

The two vary slightly in design, but basically work the same: you put a mask over the choking victim and use suction to hopefully dislodge whatever is stuck. The FDA “has not approved or cleared a medical device specifically to substitute for or assist in the commonly known Heimlich maneuver.”

The American College of Emergency Physicians says it may benefit people at high risk for choking like patients with Parkinson’s disease or M.S. but has concerns for using them on small children. Medical professionals agree the Heimlich is always the preferred first line of defense.