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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-15

Profile of hanging deaths in Lagos, Nigeria: A 9-year retrospective autopsy study

Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Francis Adedayo Faduyile
Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/atp.atp_3_19

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Introduction: Hanging is seen worldwide and is the most common method of suicide globally. Hanging in Western nations has been well documented. However, there appears to be a dearth of published data on hanging in Nigeria, Africa. The essence of this work is to look at the morphological characteristics and the epidemiological profile of victims who died from hanging. Materials and Methods: This was a 9-year retrospective autopsy study on hanging deaths from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2013. The details of the injuries present were recorded in a predesigned format so as to minimize error. Such findings included age, sex, type of hanging, position of knot, number of turns of the ligature, and fracture of hyoid and thyroid cartilages. The findings noted were carefully compiled, tabulated, and analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 20. Results: There were 22 cases of hanging during the study period representing 0.2% of the total autopsy cases. The mean age was 38 ± 12 years, ranging from 15 to 60 years. This was predominantly a male phenomenon, with males constituting 94.5%, whereas females accounted for only 4.5%. Hanging was most common in the fifth decade (27.3%). This was closely followed by the third and fourth decades. This study revealed that 95.5% had single loop. The knot was most common on the right representing 54.5% and least common at the occiput accounting for 13.6%. Hyoid bone fracture and thyroid cartilage fracture were seen in 22.7% each. Conclusion: This study has shown that the mean age of hanging was in the fourth decade in this environment, with an overwhelming male preponderance. Fixed single loop on the right side was the most common picture and a quarter had fracture of hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage. All the ligature marks were obliquely placed, and no fracture of cervical vertebrae was identified. A future study will be needed to determine what percentage of suicide is hanging in this part of the world.

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