Emergency medicine Hanging and Strangulation Physiotherapy

Medical Definition of Hanging and Strangulation

In this article we will discuss the Medical Definition of Hanging and Strangulation

In this article, we will discuss the Medical Definition of Hanging and Strangulation. So, let’s get started.


Hanging is a form of asphyxia produced by suspension of the body by a ligature around the neck which constricts the neck by the weight of the body. In hanging, the ligature runs from the front above the thyroid cartilage symmetrically upwards on both sides of the neck and the back (occipital region).

In partial hanging, the bodies are partially suspended; the toes or feet touching the ground or are in a sitting, kneeling, lying down prone or any other position. The weight of the head acts as constricting force instead of the body.

Strangulation is also a form of asphyxia similar to hanging caused by constriction of the neck by a ligature without suspending the body. The ligature is U-shaped pulled by the manual force around the front and back of neck and person stands behind the body. Strangulation can be attempted using both hands around the neck called throttling.

Ligature used: The ligature used include a rope, metallic chains, wire, leather strap or belt, bedsheet, scarf, dhoti, saree, turban, etc. It must be remembered that these cases are medico-legal cases, hence, every physician is duty-bound to complete the medico-legal formalities including medico-legal report (MLR). A doctor who examines the patient first of all should note the following:

  • Ligature used
  • Ligature mark on the neck. One should note whether it corresponds to the material used for hanging
  • One should ascertain the length and texture of the ligature and to verify whether it was sufficient to hang the victim
  • Before removing the ligature; one should ascertain the width, nature and composition, mode of application and type of the knot used during hanging. Sometimes, the rope may break and becomes detached and the victim will be found lying on the ground with a ligature around the neck
  • A suicidal note may be present at the site of hanging, if it is suicidal hanging. The note should be procured and handed over to police.

Disclaimer: The content provided above is strictly for informational purpose only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professionals with questions regarding medical conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency call your doctor or emergency medical services immediately.

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