Retrospective analysis of injuries in fatal strangulation cases seen at Ga-Rankuwa Forensic Pathology Service in the period 2016 - 2021


Fatal asphyxia

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Retrospective analysis of injuries in fatal strangulation cases seen at Ga-Rankuwa Forensic Pathology Service in the period 2016 - 2021. (2024). Undergraduate Research in Health Journal, 2(1), e1786.


Background. Fatal strangulation victims suffer different injuries, necessitating analysis to aid forensic pathologists, yet studies from South Africa (SA) on this topic are limited.

Objective. To analyse injuries sustained by victims and the most used method of strangulation.

Methods. This retrospective cross-sectional descriptive study analysed fatal strangulation cases at the Ga-Rankuwa Forensic Pathology Service from 2016 to 2021. Victim data, including demographics, type of strangulation and injury were collected from the mortuary register and autopsy reports. Data were analysed based on sex, race, age group, type of strangulation and type of injury.

Results. Ultimately, 41 cases were analysed, representing an incidence of 0.57% of fatal strangulations. Women were twice as likely as men to suffer from strangulation. The highest incidence occurred among individuals aged ≥18 years old (76%). However, it is alarming to note that 24% of the victims were younger than 18 years. Ligature strangulation was found in 46% of cases, while manual strangulation accounted for 54%. Neck injuries were present in 95% of cases, with internal injuries more prevalent than external ones. In 78% of cases, isolated internal injuries were observed, while 22% exhibited injuries to both internal and external neck structures. The number of reported cases gradually increased from 2016 to 2021, with the highest number occurring in 2021.

Conclusion. This study contributes to the limited research in SA on injuries sustained by victims of fatal strangulation. Reported cases of strangulation are on the rise with victims sustaining different types of injuries.



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