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Rafeeq’s Head-Tilt-Chin-Lift Experiment

It is already a known fact that a casualty must be laid down in supine position, keeping the head-tilt-chin-lift position, and give CPR if needed. This position straitens the airway for easy ventilation.

I am happy to introduce an experiment that demonstrates the importance of head-tilt-chin-lift position. When you do this experiment, you can easily understand the importance of that position in a dying person.

Step1:
Sit on a chair, keeping the head facing forwards. Then start breathing gently.

Step 2:
While continuing the gentle breathing, slowly bend the neck downwards till the chin touches the chest. Continue the breathing process while keeping head in this position. You can easily feel a difficulty while breathing in this position; you need to exert little for the same. Keeping the chin touching the chest, you can also turn the head to right and left side, and feel the same difficulty while breathing.

Step3:
Continue the breathing in the above position for one minute, then gently lift the head and look upwards, same as in head-tilt-chin-lift position, and feel the easy relaxed breathing.

Inference:
In the step one, breathing is not difficult, but may be difficult in an unconscious patient. Whereas in step 2 breathing was very difficult even for a healthy person, because here the airway was bend, also the tongue was blocking the air passage. In step three, the airway becomes straight, making the air entry easy, even in an unconscious patient. This experiment proves the value of keeping head-tilt-chin-lift position in a casualty. In accident cases, instead of head-tilt-chin-lift (to avoid injury to cervical spine), gentle jaw thrust and immobilizing the neck is mandatory.

©Dr Muhammed Rafeeque
Kerala, India

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