Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Against the recommendations of the Heart Association and Red Cross, the Dallas-area American College of Emergency Physicians recommends doing "the Heimlich" on UNCONSCIOUS choking victims -- I can't get answers from ACEP, so I've asked the Texas health commisioner for help

Via Facts About ACEP and Emergency Medicine:
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the oldest and largest national medical specialty organization representing physicians who practice emergency medicine. With more than 32,000 members, ACEP is the leading continuing education source for emergency physicians and the primary information resource on developments in the specialty.

...The College continually monitors trends in the health care environment and analyzes issues affecting emergency physicians and their patients.
So why does ACEP recommend a choking rescue treatment that is not recommended by the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR)?

The treatment?

Performing the Heimlich maneuver on unconscious choking victims.

Via ACEP's website and their booklet entitled What To Do in a Medical Emergency:

My layman's understanding is that the Heimlich maneuver (aka abdominal thrust) creates an artificial cough so that a choking victim may cough out a solid foreign body stuck in their throat.

But if you're unconscious, you can't cough, right?

Also, and I may have missed something, to my knowledge there is no published research that supports the treatment.

But I have no medical training and I'm just an amateur researcher.

If a prominent emergency medicine organization like ACEP recommends a medical treatment, presumably they have their reasons.

In an attempt to learn those reasons, for the past week I've sent multiple e-mails to ACEP representatives at their Dallas headquarters trying to get answers to these questions:
1) Approximately when did ACEP begin recommending abdominal thrusts (the Heimlich maneuver) as an effective treatment for unconscious choking victims?

2) Please explain the basis for that treatment recommendation, including citations to relevant published research.
I've gotten multiple confirmations of receipt, but not even a courtesy reply.

Rather than chase the organization, today I sent this letter to the commissioner of the Texas health commissioner requesting that he ask ACEP to answer my questions. (Click here to download a copy.)