How to perform a head tilt chin lift

The head tilt chin lift is a basic airway management technique used to prevent the tongue from blocking the airway.

As the picture shows, the tongue can block the back of the throat when a patient is unconscious. The head tilt chin lift allows the first aider to open the patient’s airway and prevent them from suffocating.

Head tilt chin lift


How to perform a head tilt chin lift

With one hand on the top of the head and two fingers under the chin, tilt the head back and lift the chin into the air. This should reduce noisy breathing, making chest movements better.

This is often easier from the side of the patient. If there is a possibility of spinal injuries, those trained should use a technique known as a jaw thrust. People not trained to perform a jaw thrust should still use a head tilt chin lift.

During the procedure take care not to put any pressure on the patient’s neck.

If you put a patient in the recovery position, remember to perform a head tilt chin lift before you leave them. This should help ensure the airway remains patent, and no vomit is aspirated into the lungs.

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