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Unusual Body Posture After Death Leading to Signs of Strangulation

Asamura, Hideki MD, PhD*; Oki, Takahito MD*; Masao, Ota PhD*; Fukushima, Hirofumi MD, PhD†

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology: June 2010 - Volume 31 - Issue 2 - pp 195-197
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3181cffff0
Case Report

This report concerns a case in which the decedent was found in a highly unusual posture, one resembling a yoga backbend pose. Several findings in this case pointed to death by strangulation, including facial congestion, extensive petechiae of the conjunctivae and mucosal membranes of the oral cavity, and congestion and hemorrhaging in the lingual root, laryngopharynx, and cervical lymph nodes. However, no hemorrhaging of the cervical skin or soft tissue was observed. The cause of death was ultimately identified as pulmonary thromboembolism caused by an embolus originating from a deep leg vein thrombosis. If the pulmonary thromboembolism had not been detected, the cause of death may have been misidentified as strangulation.

From the *Department of Legal Medicine, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Nagano, Japan; and †National Research Institute of Police Science, Chiba, Japan.

Manuscript received February 20, 2008; accepted November 13, 2008.

Reprints: Hideki Asamura, Department of Legal Medicine, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Asahi 3-1-1, Matsumoto, Nagano 390–8621, Japan. E-mail: asamura@sch.md.shinshu-u.ac.jp.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.