Forensic Science

Mechanical (Violent) asphyxia

Mechanical (Violent) asphyxia


  • Interference of respiration by mechanical means constitutes mechanical or violent asphyxia.
  • Mechanical asphyxia—this is due to mechanical interference to respiration, e.g. hanging, strangulation, throttling, smothering, choking, drowning, etc


Mechanical asphyxia could be of following types depending upon the respiratory block.

  • Compression/ constriction of the neck, e.g. hanging, strangulation, throttling, etc.
  • Blocking external orifices of respiration, i.e. mouth and/or nostrils, e.g. smothering, overlying, suffocation, gagging, etc.
  • Impaction of foreign bodies in respiratory tract, e.g. choking
  • Compression and mechanical fixation of the chest and abdomen preventing the respiratory movements, e.g. traumatic asphyxia/crush asphyxia.
  • Inhalation of fluid into the respiratory tract, e.g. drowning.
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