One of the most terrifying things a person can experience is a choking episode. It does not matter if it happens to us directly or to someone close by like a child, it is scary as heck.
Sometimes, instincts kick in and you can dislodge the object on your own. If you can remember how to do the Heimlich maneuver or another technique, then that training can also kick in. But what if our minds go blank or those methods don’t work?
Enter the LifeVac, a suction device created to remove objects from the airway. The idea first came to the inventor, Arthur Lih, after he learned of a young child’s choking death at a nearby school. At that time, he had a daughter around the same age and the story struck a chord.
Inspired by the design of a sink plunger, Lih set out to make a device that would pull blockages from the throat, possibly saving lives. The LifeVac has been on the market for several years now and has even found its way into some schools and fire departments.
It works by placing the suction mask over the person’s mouth and pumping until the object is dislodged. According to a press release from the company, the suction level on the device is “3 times greater than the highest recorded abdominal thrust. LifeVac is capable of generating over 300 mmHg of suction. The duration of suction is minimal, so LifeVac is safe and effective.”
The LifeVac kit comes with two masks: one for an adult and one for a child. Extra masks can be purchased separately, and a school kit is available that comes with multiple LifeVacs and masks. Currently, the device is available for purchase in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.
So far, the company has shared that 17 lives have been saved due the device. It has worked for children, an adult with special needs, an elderly Parkinson’s patient, and others in a choking emergency. Recently, a report on the LifeVac was published in the International Journal of Clinical Skills citing success stories around the world.
Risks include possible swelling, bruising, or slight pain from the suction, but the device should be used for emergencies only. The company does encourage people to practice pumping on a table or safety dummy if possible.
Choking is understandably one of a parent’s worst fears and it is a major cause for concern for kids and the elderly. As one mom stated, she’d rather have a backup available just in case she needs it, and she finds the LifeVac to be a viable option.
For more information on how the device works, click on this video from Insider. If you’re sold and know you want to buy one for your home or business, check out this listing on Amazon. It could be the just the thing you end up needing!
Have you ever had a choking emergency? Would you be interested in having a device like this on hand? What are your thoughts on this invention?