Revolutionary device can save choking victims

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Choking is the third leading cause of accidental death in the over 65 population and the forth leading cause of accidental death in the United States.

For those with Multiple Sclerosis in particular, including early on in the course of the disease, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), pulmonary dysfunction and muscle weakness arise. When these impairments occur early on most are unaware that there is a problem.

Dysphagia may cause the individual to cough after drinking liquids or choke when eating certain foods, especially those with a crumbly texture.

Whether you live with MS or are a caregiver for someone living with it, you can empathize with the array of swallowing challenges and the subsequent psychological toll that it creates for all.

Unfortunately, if the swallowing challenges turn into a choking episode, there is a chance the individual may aspirate, or inhale fluid or solids into the upper respiratory tract, resulting in aspiration pneumonia.

Finally, there is a device to help with this life-threatening issue: LifeVac; a revolutionary new product designed to remove an object from an obstructed airway.

The LifeVac is a non-powered single patient portable suction apparatus developed for resuscitating a choking victim when standard ACLS protocol has failed. The negative pressure generated by the force of the suction is 3 times greater than the highest recorded choke pressure. The duration of suction is minimal so LifeVac is safe and effective.

It will be available to the public in the coming weeks and there is a waiting list on the website to register to receive it upon its release. Please visit www.lifevac.net to place an order.

There will be an event this Thursday, August 7th at 6pm, “New Hope and Relief for Preventing Choking in Multiple Sclerosis Patients with Swallowing Difficulties,” at Healthfit powered by Sarasota Memorial.

The event will be hosted by Dr. Jane Mascola, a pharmaceutical healthcare professional in the Suncoast area and a champion of helping those with MS and their caregivers.

ABC 7's Alix Redmonde will have more on this story tonight, on your Suncoast news.