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Compression Asphyxia in Upright Suspended Position

Tumram, Nilesh Keshav MD; Ambade, Vipul Namdeorao MD, LLB; Dixit, Pradeep Gangadhar MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 2 - p 80–82
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000052
Case Reports

In compression asphyxia, the respiration is prevented by external pressure on the body. It is usually due to external force compressing the trunk due to heavy weight over chest/abdomen and is associated with internal injuries. In the present case, the victim was suspended in an upright position owing to wedging of the chest and the abdomen in the gap between 2 parallel bridges undergoing construction. There was neither any heavy weight over the body, nor was any external force applied over the trunk. Moreover, there was neither any severe blunt force injury nor any significant pathological natural disease contributing to the cause of death. The body was wedged in the gap between 2 static hard surfaces. The victim was unable to extricate himself from the position owing to impairment of cognitive responses and coordination due to influence of alcohol. The victim died as a result of “static” asphyxia due to compression of the chest and the abdomen. Compression asphyxia in upright suspended position under this circumstance is very rare and not reported previously to the best of our knowledge.

From the Department of Forensic Medicine, Government Medical College, Nagpur, Maharashtra State, India.

Manuscript received March 20, 2012; accepted January 18, 2013.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Vipul Namdeorao Ambade, MD, LLB, Department of Forensic Medicine, Government Medical College, 479, Godhani Rd, Opposite IDBI Bank, Nagpur (Pin Code 441111), Maharashtra State, India. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.