Hallucinogen(s) (See "Abuse, hallucinogen(s).") Halothane (See "Death, anesthesia-associated.") Hanging

NOTE: Most hangings in the United States are suicides with short drops producing no cervical derangements, in contrast to the now uncommon judical hangings. A few hanging deaths are industrial accidents, and a few are consequences of asphyxia, self-induced for the purpose of sexual pleasure. Clues to autoerotic asphyxia are nudity, cross dressing, bondage paraphernalia, pornography, remotely operated video cameras, escape mechanisms, and a history or evidence of prior such acts.

Organs and Tissues


Possible or Expected Findings

External examination and skin

Neck organs

Photograph the neck and head with and without the ligature in place, from anterior, left, right, and posterior aspects, and the ligature after removal.

Record and photograph liver mortis.

Measure diameter of the ligature and the depth and width of the furrow.

Measure the circumference of both the ligature and the neck. Measure the vertical distance of the furrow from the ear lobe.

Use layerwise anterior dissection (p. 14).

Corresponding patterns of ligature and furrow; presence or absence of cyanosis and factial petecchiae; protrusion of tongue.

Shift from lower extremities to back; Tardieau spots (petecchiae caused by pooling).

Size and pattern of ligature should match size and pattern of furrow. Circumference of ligature will be less than circumference of neck.

Dessicated tan compressed subcutaneous facia; fractures of superior laryngeal cornua or hyoid in the elderly are consistent with hanging and can occur after prolonged suspension.

Hashish (See "Abuse, marihuana.")

Heart Disease, Congenital

NOTE: See under individual malformations, such as "Defect, ventricular septal." For a listing of Latin terms and their Anglicized equivalents, see Chapter 3, Appendix 3-3, p. 39. Synonyms for various forms of congenital heart disease are compiled in Chapter 3, Appendix 3-2, p. 39. For eponyms of various operations for congenital heart disease, see Chapter 3, Appendix 3-4, p. 41. Finally, a template for recording information at autopsy on patients with congenital heart disease is presented in Chapter 3, Appendix 3-5, p. 42.

Heat (See "Burns" and "Heatstroke.")


Synonyms and Related Terms: Heat exhaustion; heat syncope; hyperthermia.

NOTE: Possible complications include disseminated intravascular coagulation* and fibrinolysis syndrome and Gramnegative septicemia.

From: Handbook of Autopsy Practice, 3rd Ed. Edited by: J. Ludwig © Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ

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