Autopsy Findings in Strangulation, Hanging & Drowning

Autopsy Findings


v  CCP (Congestion, Cyanosis, Petechial Hemorrhages)

v  Protrusion of tongue

v  Thyroid cartilage / Hyoid bone fracture is more common

v  Ligature mark is horizontal, continuous, usually below or at the level of thyroid cartilage

v  No dribbling from mouth

v  Bleeding from nose, mouth, ear is common

v  Injury to neck muscles common


Manual Strangulation

v  Hyoid Bone Fracture (50-60% cases): Adduction Fracture/ inward compression fracture

v  Neck Abrasions: Semi-lunar (due to Nails) and coin shaped (due to finger tips)




v  CCP (Congestion, Cyanosis, Petechial Hemorrhages)

v  Ligature mark is mostly above or at the level of thyroid cartilage

v  Blood colored froth from nostrils

v  Dribbling from mouth with stains of saliva over chin or chest

v  Le facie sympathique ( the ligature knot presses on cervical sympathetic ganglia, eye on same side remains open and its pupil dilated, it indicates antemortem hanging.)

v  Glove & stock pattern of post mortem lividity if body remains suspended for extended time period with cyanosis, voiding of urine / stool / seminal fluid.

v  Carotid arteries may be injured

v  Hyoid bone may be fractured: involves greater horn of hyoid bone, antero-posterior compression fracture or abduction fracture



v  Fine copious persistent white  froth from mouth nostrils and air passages that will increase on chest pressure

v  Weed, grass, mud in tight hands

v  Water in stomach, intestine and middle ear

v  Washer woman hands

v  Diatoms in brain and bone marrow (Most important finding in ante-mortem drowning)

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