The Heimlich Maneuver, But with a New Twist

Young patients try a new way to purge.

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
May/June Volume 26, Number 3
©2015 iaedp

There is ample precedent for people with eating disorders adopting established medical treatments as part of eating disorder symptoms—the use of diuretics, laxatives, and ipecac come to mind. Forty years after thoracic surgeon Henry Heimlich first published his technique for using a series of upward abdominal thrusts to stop choking, Canadian researchers have reported 5 cases of children and teens using the Heimlich maneuver to purge (Int J Eat Disord. 2015; Apr 2. doi:10.1002/eat.22408.[Epub ahead of print].

Ahmed Boachie MD, FRCPC, and fellow clinicians at Southlake Regional Health Centre, Newmarket, Ontario, and the University of Toronto, recently described 5 independent cases of children and teens who revealed they used the Heimlich maneuver to purge. The hidden practice emerged when the young patients were asked to elaborate on techniques they were using to purge. The authors also note that medical complications for the Heimlich maneuver (described when it has been used for choking) can help uncover the use of the maneuver, including rib fractures, hemorrhages, abdominal organ trauma and other forms of blunt abdominal trauma. Clinicians may wish to consider screening for this behavior.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed