A contribution to a possible differentiation between SIDS and asphyxiation

Journal Paper/Review - Jan 30, 1998


Betz P, Hausmann R, Eisenmenger W. A contribution to a possible differentiation between SIDS and asphyxiation. Forensic Sci Int 1998; 91:147-52.
Journal Paper/Review (English)
Forensic Sci Int 1998; 91
Publication Date
Jan 30, 1998
Issn Print
Brief description/objective

The singular and combined appearance of conjunctival petechiae, of acute pulmonary emphysema and of signs of aspiration was evaluated in resuscitated and non-resuscitated children dying of SIDS (n = 115), of other causes of natural death (n = 17), of severe head injury (n = 10) and of asphyxiation/strangulation (n = 7). Conjunctival petechiae occurred in all of the asphyxiated victims and in five out of 10 children dying of severe head injury, but were exclusively found in four resuscitated babies and one baby with questionable resuscitation trials of the SIDS-group (4%), furthermore in one resuscitated child dying of a congenital heart defect. Acute pulmonary emphysema was detected in six out of the seven children of the asphyxiation/strangulation group, in two resuscitated children with head injury and in five resuscitated babies dying of SIDS. Both parameters were observed exclusively in the asphyxiation/strangulation group (71% of the cases) but not in the control cases. Therefore, it can be concluded that the simultaneous appearance of conjunctival petechiae and of acute pulmonary emphysema strongly indicates death by asphyxiation.