Sellick Manoeuvre

Last reviewed 01/2018

This is a method of preventing regurgitation of stomach contents into the larynx during intubation and induction. It is particularly indicated:

  • for general anaesthesia when the patient has not fasted, or when, as a result of pain or drugs such as opiates or alcohol, gastric emptying is delayed
  • in patients with a hiatus hernia
  • for all emergency inductions and intubations
  • in those in the late stages of pregnancy

The cricoid cartilage is manually pushed back to occlude the oesophagus. This entails:

  • an assistant locating the position of the cricoid cartilage before induction
  • applying firm pressure backwards with thumb and forefinger as soon as anaesthesia has been achieved
  • only releasing pressure once endotracheal intubation has been confirmed