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Hejna P., Hottmar P.

Unusual Form of Accidental Mechanical Asphyxia


Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Hradec Králové, Czech Republic


This brief case report shows an unusual form of accidental atypical strangulation. A 46-year-old male became trapped between the rims of an automatically closing door during his hopeless effort to enter a supermarket at night. The victim’s neck was violently pressed by the edges of the automatic door. From external observation we found an incomplete ligature mark and numerous small abrasions in the neck. On autopsy we found typical signs of asphyxia and fractures of the hyoid-laryngeal complex and bruising of the soft tissues of the neck. The subsequent toxicology was negative with the exception of alcohol level. We came to the common conclusion of a double form of mechanical asphyxia – atypical violent strangulation and atypical hanging. The third highly likely contributory factor of death was direct stimulation of the baroreceptor nerve endings in the left carotid sinus and left carotid sheath. In recent literature, there have been presented only a few cases describing this manner of asphyxia and death.

Key words: Accidental asphyxia – strangulation – hanging

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