Cases of subtle fatal neck compression are often complicated by the lack of specificity of the post-mortem signs of asphyxia and by the lack of clear signs of neck compression. Herein we present a forensic case of a 45-year-old schizophrenic patient found on the floor of the bedroom of a psychiatric ward in cardiopulmonary arrest and who died after two days in a vegetative state. The deposition of the roommate of the deceased, who claimed responsibility for the killing of the victim by neck compression, was considered unreliable by the prosecutor. Autopsy, toxicological analyses, and multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT), micro computed tomography (micro-CT) and histology of the larynx complex were performed. Particularly, micro-CT analysis of the thyroid cartilage revealed the bilateral presence of ossified triticeous cartilages and the complete fragmentation of the right superior horn of the thyroid, but it additionally demonstrated a fracture on the contralateral superior horns, which was not clearly diagnosable at MSCT. On the basis of the evidence of intracartilaginous laryngeal hemorrhages and bilateral microfracture at the base of the superior horns of the larynx, the death was classified as a case of asphyxia due to manual strangulation. Micro-CT was confirmed as a useful tool in cases of subtle fatal neck compression, for the detection of minute laryngeal cartilage fractures, especially in complex cases with equivocal findings on MSCT.

Micro computed tomography features of laryngeal fractures in a case of fatal manual strangulation

Fais, Paolo;Viero, Alessia;BORTOLOTTI, Federica;TAGLIARO, Franco;
2016-01-01

Abstract

Cases of subtle fatal neck compression are often complicated by the lack of specificity of the post-mortem signs of asphyxia and by the lack of clear signs of neck compression. Herein we present a forensic case of a 45-year-old schizophrenic patient found on the floor of the bedroom of a psychiatric ward in cardiopulmonary arrest and who died after two days in a vegetative state. The deposition of the roommate of the deceased, who claimed responsibility for the killing of the victim by neck compression, was considered unreliable by the prosecutor. Autopsy, toxicological analyses, and multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT), micro computed tomography (micro-CT) and histology of the larynx complex were performed. Particularly, micro-CT analysis of the thyroid cartilage revealed the bilateral presence of ossified triticeous cartilages and the complete fragmentation of the right superior horn of the thyroid, but it additionally demonstrated a fracture on the contralateral superior horns, which was not clearly diagnosable at MSCT. On the basis of the evidence of intracartilaginous laryngeal hemorrhages and bilateral microfracture at the base of the superior horns of the larynx, the death was classified as a case of asphyxia due to manual strangulation. Micro-CT was confirmed as a useful tool in cases of subtle fatal neck compression, for the detection of minute laryngeal cartilage fractures, especially in complex cases with equivocal findings on MSCT.
2016
Manual strangulation; Larynx fractures; MSCT; Micro-CT
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/935530
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