Partial or complete inability to breathe due to an obstruction of the airways. Choking is often due to food or drink entering the trachea and bronchi instead of passing from the pharynx into the oesophagus. Coughing normally dislodges the food or drink. An obstruction that partially blocks the airway and cannot be dislodged by coughing is more serious. If the airway is completely blocked, total suffocation will result if the blockage is not removed. If an obstruction cannot be cleared by first aid techniques, such as the Heimlich manoeuvre or removed manually, an emergency tracheostomy may be performed to restore the airway before removal of the obstruction with instruments.


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