Airway foreign body removal using a home vacuum cleaner


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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Home vacuum cleaners can successfully remove an airway foreign body, say the authors of a study in the journal Resuscitation.

In the Japanese Multi-centre Observational Choking Investigation retrospective registry (MOCHI-retro), cases of choking with reported vacuum cleaner use were identified.

Of the 386 patients in the registry, eight (2.1%) incidents occurred where a bystander attempted to remove a FB with a vacuum cleaner. All patients were experiencing foreign body airway obstruction (FBAO) from food.

Four patients (50.0%) experienced cardiac arrest. All patients, except one, received at least one standard FB bystander removal manoeuver prior to vacuum cleaner use.

FBs were successfully removed in three patients (37.5%) who survived to discharge with favourable neurological outcome.

All eight patients received a thorough oropharyngeal examination and seven (87.5%) patients had CT imaging of the chest and abdomen that did not reveal any major injuries.

Two types of suction nozzles compatible with home vacuum cleaners have been designed for airway FB removal and one of those devices has been approved as a “general medical device” by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

The authors concluded that FB removal with a vacuum cleaner was successful in about one-third of patients.