Strangulation

Background

  • Strangulation
    • Hanging, ligature, manual or postural strangulation
    • Homicide, assault, suicide or execution
  • Mechanism of death/injury [1]
    • Spinal cord/brainstem injury
    • Mechanical compression
    • Bradycardia

Pathophysiology

Clinical Features

Differential Diagnosis

Neck Trauma

Evaluation

Management

  • ATLS
  • Secure airway if indicated
    • Stridor/hoarseness suggests upper airway obstruction
  • Cervical spine immobilization
  • Cardiac monitoring
  • Antibiotics if aspiration present
  • PEEP for hypoxia
  • Levophed for neurogenic shock

Disposition

  • Observation warranted if awake, alert, no stridor
  • ICU
  • Psychiatric assessment

References

  1. Iserson, K. V. (1984) ‘Strangulation: A review of ligature, manual, and postural neck compression injuries’, Annals of Emergency Medicine, 13(3), pp. 179–185.