Sunday, May 16, 2021

Compilation of reports/statements by medical & governmental organizations and (mostly) mainstream media reports about "the Dechoker," now based in Denver [UPDATED 5/16/21]

 Dechoker promo video featuring Randall L. Snook MD of Lone Tree, CO

If I've missed any, please e-mail links to 

For information originating from Dechoker LLC (Wheat Ridge, CO), click here for the company's home page. Click the links for the websites of Dechoker UK (Northampton), Dechoker Spain (Madrid), and Dechoker Sweden (Gothenburg).

Also see Caretakers Detail How “Indispensable” Dechoker Has Saved Dozens of Lives, a February 15, 2019 Dechoker LLC blog item which includes links to case reports signed by Randall Snook MD who practices at Advanced Integrative Medicine, Lone Tree, CO.

Click here for my similar compilation re: the LifeVac anti-choking device.


Executive Summary: 2020 International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science With Treatment Recommendations (ILCOR) by Nolan et al, Circulation, October 21, 2020:

Recently, manual suction devices (airway clearance devices) that use a vacuum to remove foreign bodies have become commercially available. These devices have not previously been reviewed by ILCOR and were included in this SysRev. The data in the peer-reviewed literature assessing the efficacy of suction-based airway clearance devices comprised just 1 case series of 9 adults, which the task force deemed insufficient to support the implementation of a new technology with an associated financial and training cost...The task force suggested that suction-based airway clearance devices should not be used routinely.

Resuscitation Council UK is aware that several airway clearing devices for the treatment of choking are now available in the UK. There is insufficient evidence on the safety or effectiveness of these devices for us to recommend their use, and we are concerned that the use of these devices could delay established treatments for choking; for this reason, Resuscitation Council UK does not support their use. 

Appropriately trained healthcare professionals can already use advanced techniques such as suction or laryngoscopy and forceps for airway foreign body removal. We recommend that new airway clearance devices should only be used by trained healthcare professionals as part of a formal evaluation. 

April 5, 2018 Swedish CPR Council report re: anti-choking devices by Henrik Wagner MD PhD, Jan Gelberg MD, Andreas Claesson RN PhD. Click here for original Swedish version; click here for English version via Google Translate.

April 25, 2019 statement by the Spanish Council of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation re: anti-choking devices. Click here for original Spanish version; click here for English version via Google Translate. 
May 10, 2021 warning/demand letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Dechoker LLC re: the agency's ongoing investigation of the company. Click here for the October 2, 2019 Adverse Incident Report involving a three-year-old that triggered the FDA investigation.
August 30, 2017 determination letter from UK Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) re: Dechoker anti-choking device (via my Scribd account)


Game-changer: Dechoker medical device could end deaths by choking by Melissa Chipman, Insider Louisville October 22, 2015

FDA approves new lifesaving device based out of Louisville by Ann Bowdan, WLKY-TV, October 30, 2015

Space age to beat baldness: Health gadgets just got madder than ever... but do any actually work? by Jinan Harb, Daily Mail (UK), February 22, 2016

Can New Devices Match Heimlich to Stop Choking? LifeVac and Dechoker pose alternative to abdominal thrusts by Laura Johannes, Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2016 (Paywalled) Phil Heimlich is my older brother -- PMH
Two new easy-to-use devices work like plungers to suck out obstructions in the airway, providing another option if standard treatment—such as abdominal thrusts developed in 1974 by Henry Heimlich—fail to clear the airway, say the companies who sell them.

...Both the Dechoker, $89.95, and the LifeVac, $69.95, have a plastic mask that provides a seal over the mouth and nose while suction is provided. The Dechoker looks like a large syringe, while the LifeVac’s plunger is shaped like a small accordion.
...Skeptics include Dr. Heimlich, now 96. Such a device may not be handy in the “unexpected instance that a person chokes,” Dr. Heimlich, a retired thoracic surgeon from Cincinnati, says in a statement released by his son, Phil Heimlich. “Any action that delays use of the Heimlich maneuver or complicates the rescue can be deadly.”
Kudos to WSJ for giving thorough look at ‘Heimlich alternative’ devices for choking victims by Susan Wei PhD, Dan Mayer MD & Joya Victory, Health News Review, July 18, 2016

Anti-choking devices give piece of mind but don't replace Heimlich Maneuver by Liz Harrison, ABC30 News (Fresno, CA), September 27, 2016

Brackley man advocates ‘de-choking’ device for all nurseries and schools as alternative to back slaps by Tim Redigolo, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, March 24, 2017

Anti-choking device business raided, accused of investment scheme by investigative reporter Matthew Grant, FOX46-TV News, Charlotte, NC, March 12, 2018

'Dechoker' anti-choking device claims to save lives but has never been tested on humans by investigative reporter Jackie Callaway, WFTS-TV News, Tampa, FL, May 21, 2018

Heimlich alternative? KWWL investigates new medical device offered to Iowa school by Amanda Gilbert, KWWL-TV News, Waterloo, IA, May 31, 2018:

Interview by KWWL reporter Amanda Gilbert with Iowa State EMS Director David Stilley MD:

Northampton care home staff save residents' life after he started choking by Carly Roberts, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, June 15, 2018*

Dechokers at A-L expected to keep kids safe by Kate Day Sager, Olean Times Herald, October 5, 2018

Heimlich’s son questions Dechoker products in A-L schools by Kate Day Sager, Olean (NY) Times Herald, November 1, 2018

Milton Keynes man’s device saves 11 people from choking to death by Paige Brown, Milton Keynes Citizen, January 17, 2019*

With 11 lives saved last year. What next for 2019…?, DechokerUK blog, January 17, 2019 (emphasis added)
We are pleased today to confirm a total number of 11 (eleven) choking deaths in the adult care sector last year were prevented with Dechoker.
Funding for life-saving product maker by Jon Robinson, Inside Media Ltd., February 11,

Care homes urged to reduce choking deaths by Jill Rennie, carehome,, May 22, 2019 (emphasis added)
According to staff at Brookholme Residential Care Homes in Chesterfield, a resident began choking and turned blue after eating a piece of bacon. Staff told a Dechoker representative in the UK that abdominal thrusts did not work, and that they believe the resident would have died without the Dechoker.

...Kerry Toulson, manager of Dudbrook Hall in Brentwood Essex said: “We recognised that one of our residents, in particular, was at serious risk of choking on her food which was a real worry.

...“Approximately four weeks after our training, a resident who we were concerned with had been assessed as requiring a fork-mashable diet. One lunchtime they choked and lost consciousness.”

When staff failed to remove the object by using traditional methods of back blows and abdominal thrusts, staff began using the Dechoker. The blockage was removed easily, and the resident recovered quickly.
Anti-choking devices: a lot of servile "journalism" and no clinical trials by Esther Samper, Hipertextual, May 26, 2019. Click here for original Spanish version; click here for English version via Google Translate

Woman passes out and is close to death after choking on food - but is miraculously saved by carer: Pensioner Ivy was unconscious by Anna Riley, Hull Daily Mail, May 31, 2019

Carers used Dechoker to save woman who choked on sausage by Emily Collis, Senior Reporter, Worcester News, August 7, 2019 (emphasis added):
Staff at a Wyre Forest care home have praised an innovative anti-choking device which was used to save the life of a resident who "turned blue" after choking on a piece of sausage.

First-aiders at Casa Mia Care Home in Far Forest turned to the Dechoker as a last resort after back slaps and abdominal thrusts failed to revive a woman who fell unconscious for between three and four minutes during dinner on July 18.

Team leaders Tracey Hemmings, aged 46, and Lorraine Swain, aged 58, say the woman, who suffers with a mood disorder which affects her mobility, "would have died" if it wasn't for the device.

..."Lorraine had already tried back slaps but that didn't work, so we started doing abdominal thrusts. When that didn't work we realised the severity of the situation and called 999.

"She was totally unresponsive and started to turn blue.

"We grabbed the Dechoker as a last resort. We have three of them in the home and were all trained how to use them last year.

..."She started breathing again. It was amazing.

"Lorraine and I both said she would have died otherwise. It was a really close call."

The resident was the 31st person to be saved by a Dechoker...
Casa Mia now wants to encourage other care homes in the area to invest in a Dechoker...
* Via the February 11, 2019 Press Gazette article by Charlote Tobitt, Blogger (Peter M. Heimlich) asks press regulator to consider sanctions against online publishers that pull articles without explanation

If the person with you was choking, would you know what to do? by consumer investigative reporter Lauren Verno, WJXT-TV (Jacksonville, FL), May 3, 2021