Traumatic Asphyxia

  1. Injury due to severe prolonged compression of thorax by a heavy object
  2. A very rare syndrome in adults


  1. Compression increases thoracic and superior vena caval pressure
  2. Result is retrograde blood flow
  3. Looks very dramatic
  4. Not a benign entity
      • Pulmonary contusions
      • Hemothorax
      • Blunt abdominal trauma
      • Head injuries

Clinical Findings

  1. Skin of head and neck are deep violet in color
  2. Face is edematous
  3. Multiple petechiae of head and neck
  4. Bilateral subconjunctival hemorrhages
  5. Epistaxis
  6. Hemotympanum


  1. You must rule out intrathoracic injury
  2. Evaluate any complaint of vision problems
  3. CT scan of the head if any neurological complaint / finding


  1. Prehospital
  2. ATLS
  3. Treat associated injuries as usual
  4. Specific treatment