Sports First Responder Level 3 (VTQ)

201 videos, 10 hours and 55 minutes

Course Content

Vulnerable People and Choking

Video 41 of 201
2 min 10 sec
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Elderly people with dementia, for example, Alzheimer's disease and also Parkinson's disease are most strongly associated with deaths from food and choking. One American study examined a clinical scenario of 75 patients who survived a near-fatal choking episode. 60 of the people had choked on solid bolus of food and almost half of them had had a neurogenic disease. 25 of the people choked at home, but most of the instances happened elsewhere. 18 in nursing homes, 14 in hospitals, nine in restaurants and nine in drinking establishments. This study highlighted a growing awareness that choking emergencies in the proportion of the elderly population are particularly due to swallowing issues with nearly 40% of Americans over the age of 60 experiencing some form of dysphagia, which is a difficulty or discomfort in swallowing.

Prader-Willi Syndrome or PWS is a genetic disorder due to the loss of function of specific genes in chromosome 15. In newborns, symptoms include weak muscles, poor feeding and slow development. In childhood, the person becomes constantly hungry, which often leads to obesity and type two diabetes. When it comes to life-threatening obesity, PWS is cited as the most common cause and choking has been observed as a key contributing factor with deaths in this group. A survey of families of deceased PWS patients reported that one in three had a history of choking and almost one in 10 listed choking as a cause of death.

Causes of increased choking hazards among the population include, poor oral and motor coordination, poor gag reflex, low muscle tone, excessive desire for food, decreased chewing ability and voracious eating habits. It's important to note that while these symptoms were reported for PWS patients, caregivers should identify these symptoms in other people in the population and recognise an increased choking risk.