ReviewSuicidal Gunshot Wounds to the Head A Retrospective Review of 406 CasesBlumenthal, Ryan MBChB (Pret), MMed (Med Forens) Pret, FC For Path (SA), Dip For Med (SA)Author Information From the Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Pretoria, PO Box 2034, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa. Manuscript received May 25, 2006; accepted July 28, 2006. Reprints: Ryan Blumenthal, MBChB (Pret), MMed (Med Forens) Pret, FC For Path (SA), Dip For Med (SA), Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Pretoria, PO Box 2034, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa. E-mail: [email protected]. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: December 2007 - Volume 28 - Issue 4 - p 288-291 doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e318148bdca Buy Metrics Abstract A retrospective review of 406 suicidal gunshot wounds to the head, investigated at the Medico-Legal Laboratory of Pretoria, between 1997 and 2000 was performed. Fifty-seven percent of fatal suicidal firearm injury to the head occurred in the 21- to 40-year age range in both male and female victims. Eighty-two percent of all these victims of suicidal firearm fatalities to the head were male. Of the 406 cases, 63% were white, 31% were black, and 6% were of mixed ethnic and/or Asian decent. There was a slight increase in incidence around spring and autumn. Handguns were used in the majority of cases with shoulder weapons being used in 18 of the 406 cases. Ninety-two percent of the suicidal gunshot wounds to the head occurred indoors. A positive blood alcohol concentration was seen in 40% of cases. Of those examined, 81% were contact gunshot wounds. The trajectory was upward in 51% of cases and horizontal in 24% of cases. The right temple was the most common entrance gunshot wound site. Findings are in keeping with previously published literature. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.