Traumatic asphyxia in New Mexico: A five-year experience

David P. Skalar, Bret Baack, Patricia McFeeley, Turner Osler, Ellen Marder, Gerald Demarest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Compression of the chest causing facial petechiae, violaceous facial hue, subconjunctival hemorrhages, and frequent mental status abnormalities has been termed traumatic asphyxia. We identified 35 such cases occurring in the State of New Mexico from 1980 to 1985 from records of the Office of the Medical Investigator (n = 30) and from cases presenting to the University of New Mexico Trauma Center (n = 5). Among those found at highest risk for traumatic asphyxia were people ejected from motor vehicles, men working under cars that were inadequately supported and fell onto the victims, children under the age of 5 years who were crushed under household furniture, and people involved in construction activities. Traumatic asphyxia following a moving motor vehicle accident was significantly associated with alcohol ingestion (p < 0.001). Preventive and therapeutic strategies should focus on the groups and events identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-223
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Chest trauma
  • coma
  • petechiae
  • trauma
  • traumatic asphyxia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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