Laryngohyoid Fractures in Fatal Nonhomicidal Falls From a Height

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Abstract

In cases of fall from a height, the presence of laryngohyoid fracture or bleeding at autopsy constitutes a suspicion of strangulation before trauma in these types of cases. This study has aimed to investigate the incidence of laryngohyoid fractures in nonhomicidal fall from height cases, and their relationship with age, sex, height of fall, body mass index, and other injuries.

A total of 170 cases proven to be nonhomicidal falls from height with certain witnesses and evidences in 4683 autopsy cases in 2013 were included in this study.

The mean age of the patients included in the study was 39.96 ± 22.25, and 70.6% of the cases were men. It was found that 118 (69.4%) of the deaths were accidental and 52 (30.6%) were suicidal. Laryngohyoid fracture was determined in 9.4% of the cases. In the multivariate logistic regression analyses, it was found that as the height increased, the incidence of hyoid bone fracture increased, and as the age increased, the incidence of thyroid cartilage fracture increased significantly. Furthermore, in cases with cervical spine fractures, the incidence of hyoid bone fracture, and in cases with clavicle or cervical spine fractures, the incidence of thyroid cartilage fracture were observed to be significantly higher.

When there is a suspicion in falls from height with laryngohyoid fractures, the height of fall, the age of case, and the injury in the adjacent bones contribute to the determination of the cause and manner of death.

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