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Synonyms: asphyxiation, asphyxia
German: Erstickung

1 Definition

Suffocation is the process of dying due to the obstruction of intake, transport or processing of oxygen.

2 Classification

  • asphyxia: suffocation with CO2 retention, associated with considerable fear of suffocation
  • hypoxia: suffocation without CO2 retention, no fear of suffocation, sometimes associated with euphoria.

3 Causes

3.1 External suffocation

3.2 Internal suffocation

4 Forensic diagnostic findings

General forensic diagnostic findings are only observable in cases of external suffocation.

External findings:

Internal findings:

  • extravasation due to petechiae under the serous membranes of the organs of the chest (pleura: Tardieu spots)
  • reddening and swelling of the walls of the pharynx and the root of the tongue
  • serious hyperinflation of the lungs

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