The aim of the research was to study the occurrance of mechanical asphyxia depending on form of asphyxia, kind of death, sexual and age-group structure in different regions of Estonia in the year of 2000.
Material and methods of the research
For the reasearch information of forensic autopsies of the Estonian Bureau of Forensic Medicine was used and autopsy reports were studied statistically.
The content of the work
3392 autopsies were carried through last year in Estonia; the cause of death was mechanical injuries in 715 (21%) cases, poisoning in 509 (15%) cases and mechanical asphyxia in 445 (13%) cases.
The most frequent kind of death in mechanical asphyxia was hanging in 247 (55%) cases, drowning in water in 72 (16%) and obstruction of the airpassages by the masses of the regurgitated food in 70 (16%) cases. (addition nr 1)
Analyzing mechanical asphyxia as the cause of death it came out that the most frequent manner of death was suicide (53%), including hanging in 243 cases. The suicide was commited by drowning in water in 3 cases.
The view of the sexual structure in hanging is 3:1 in men and women. Almost the same correlation comes out studying all the cases of mechanical asphyxia.
On the second place of the cases of mechanical asphyxia are accidents of which 39% are obstructions of airways by the masses of regurgitated food; 40% drowning in water and 13% obstruction of airways by the foreign body. The frequency of other kinds of mechanical asphyxia is considerably fewer. (addition nr 2)
Addition 1. Kind of death.
Addition 2. Accidents.
Analyzing the age-group structure it can be noticed that the most exposed age-groups are those of 40-ies and 50-ies. (addition nr 3)
Addition 3. Age-groups.
The most frequent kind of death in homicides (13 cases) was manual strangulation in 4 cases, ligature strangulation in 7 cases and smothering due to occlusion of the external airways in 1 case.
Aspiration of blood should be certainly mentioned as on kind of mechanical asphyxia; some of these cases were caused by medical manipulations and had lethal end at the hospital.
Examiming the content of ethyl alcohol in blood samples it came out that 204 of persons had used alcohol before death. In 63 cases the level of ethyl alcohol in blood was 1,51-2,50 mg/g, in 89 cases over 2,51 mg/g and in 56 cases over 3,00 mg/g (more than ½ of the last mentioned persons were men). More than half of the suicides were associated with alcohol intoxication. Drugs were examined in 37 cases of 445 - that is 8,3%. In 5 cases amphetamine, in 4 cases opium alcaloids and in 1 case heroin was discovered. (addition nr 4)
Addition 4. Content of ethyl alcohol in blood.
Mechanical asphyxia as the cause of death was present in 12% of cases.
The most frequent kind of mechanical asphyxia was hanging.
The most frequent manner of death was suicide in 55,3% of cases.
The correlation between men and women is 3:1 in all cases of mechanical asphyxia and the most exposed age-groups were those of 40-ies and 50-ies.
In 46% of cases of mechanical asphyxia persons had used alcohol (were intoxicated).