On this day in science history: 1 June

From the days of ancient technology to modern science - find out what happened on this day in the history of science.

1st June 2017

1974 – Heimlich manoeuvre first described

Child demonstrating Heimlich Manoeuvre to Henry Heimlich © Bettmann/Contributor
Child demonstrating Heimlich Manoeuvre to Henry Heimlich © Bettmann/Contributor

Henry Heimlich publishes the first aid technique to save choking victims in the journal Emergency Medicine.

The manoeuvre is the exertion of pressure below the diaphragm (the muscle that controls the lungs), in order to dislodge an object blocking the trachea. Henry Heimlich developed the technique after realising that the previously recommended method of slapping people on the back had no scientific basis, and actually caused objects in the throat to be driven downwards. He first practised the Heimlich manoeuvre on an anaesthetised dog, finding that applying pressure between the ribcage and the belly button cleared objects from the airway every time.

Watch: Dr Heimlich explains how he saved choking woman with the manoeuvre he invented

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