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Jaw-thrust: Airway management, intervention, patency, obstruction, assessment

Jaw-thrust: Airway management, intervention, patency, obstruction, assessment

Jaw-thrust is a technique used in airway management to open the airway of an unconscious patient. It is used to help maintain an open and unobstructed airway, allowing for oxygenation and ventilation.

The jaw-thrust maneuver involves placing both hands on either side of the patient’s face, with the thumbs placed behind the angle of the mandible (jawbone). The thumbs are then used to lift up on the mandible while pushing forward, opening up the airway.

The purpose of this maneuver is to ensure that there is no obstruction in the upper airway, such as a tongue or foreign body blocking it. This allows for oxygenation and ventilation of the patient.

Additionally, it can be used to assess airway patency by listening for breath sounds or feeling for airflow through a stethoscope.

Intervention: When performing jaw-thrust, it is important to consider any potential cervical spine injuries that may be present to avoid further injury or damage. Additionally, if there are signs of trauma around the mouth or face area, care should be taken not to cause further injury when performing this maneuver.

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Frequently Asked Questions

If an object is blocking the infant's airway, is it recommendable to still do CPR?

Performing CPR is only recommended if the infant is unconscious. If the choking infant is conscious, perform 5 back blows and 5 chest thrusts to dislodge the object. Perform CPR if the infant loses consciousness while you are trying to dislodge the object.

What should I do if the obstruction through the infant's mouth is visible?

If you can see the blockage in the infant's mouth, reach in with your finger and take it out. Avoid forcing it further into the airway. Perform the CPR steps if the infant loses consciousness, and the object is still trapped.

When relieving choking, at what age of the victim can I use hands instead of fingers when applying chest thrusts?

You can only use chest thrust for conscious infant choking victims only. To do it correctly, use your two fingers at the center of the infant's breastbone, and give five quick chest compressions. Then, press down about 1 1/2 inches, and let the chest rise again between each compression. If the choking victim is above one year old, performing abdominal thrusts or Heimlich Maneuver is recommended.


  • American Heart Association (2020). Airway Management & Ventilation During CPR - Basic Life Support (BLS). Retrieved from
  • National Health Service (NHS) UK (2020). Jaw Thrust Maneuver - First Aid Training - St John Ambulance. Retrieved from