Hemorrhages in the root of the tongue in fire fatalities: The incidence and diagnostic value

Li Quan, Bao Li Zhu, Kaori Ishida, Shigeki Oritani, Mari Taniguchi, Yasunobu Kamikodai, Kohei Tsuda, Masaki Q. Fujita, Hitoshi Maeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Hemorrhages in the root of the tongue have been considered to be a finding associated with asphyxiation. The aim of the present study was to examine the incidence and diagnostic value of the lingual hemorrhages in fire fatalities with reference to the related pathological and toxicological findings, in comparison with asphyxiation and drowning cases. In fire fatalities (n = 90), small to marked hemorrhages were observed in 26 cases (28.9%). In the reference groups (asphyxiation and drowning), the hemorrhages were frequently observed in ligature strangulation (n = 10/15), manual strangulation (n = 5/7) and traumatic asphyxia (n = 4/5). In fire fatalities, the hemorrhages were closely associated with a lower blood carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) level, suggesting an influence of fatal burns: n = 16/32 (50.0%), n = 8/26 (30.8%) and n = 2/32 (6.2%), respectively, in cases of COHb < 30%, 30-60% and > 60%. These findings suggested possible acute hemodynamic disturbance in the head including brain (cranial congestion) in the dying process due to fires. A careful differentiation from neck compression may be necessary in such cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S332-S334
JournalLegal Medicine
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Asphyxiation
  • Carboxyhemoglobin concentration
  • Fire fatality
  • Forensic pathology
  • Hemorrhage in tongue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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