Author(s): Dunsby AM, Davison AM
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Abstract The principal aims of this retrospective study were to assess the prevalence and causes of laryngo-hyoid fractures found in coroners' adult postmortem examinations over a five-year period. In 78 of 1930 cases (4\%), there was a fracture of the larynx (thyroid or cricoid cartilage) or hyoid bone. The thyroid cartilage alone was fractured in 38 cases; the hyoid bone alone was fractured in 19 cases; the larynx and hyoid bone were both fractured in 21 cases, including one which involved the cricoid cartilage. There was no evidence of surface injury to the neck in 14.1\% of cases. The majority (44/78; 56.4\%) involved classical manual or ligature 'pressure to the neck', i.e. hanging (32) or strangulation (12) but a significant minority (35.9\%) involved other circumstances: road/rail traffic collision (12; 15.4\%); falls (6; 7.7\%); assaults involving blunt force trauma to the head and neck (4; 5.1\%); incised wounds (3; 3.8\%); gunshot wounds (2; 2.6\%); and explosion (1; 1.3\%). The circumstances of death and cause of fracture(s) were 'unascertained' in four cases (5.1\%). Postmortem artefact accounted for two cases (2.6\%).
This article was published in Med Sci Law
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access