Korean J Leg Med.  2019 Aug;43(3):115-117. 10.7580/kjlm.2019.43.3.115.

Positional Asphyxia after Falling to Backward in a Drunken State

  • 1Department of Legal Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Division of Forensic Investigation, National Forensic Service Seoul Institute, Seoul, Korea. sanchee@korea.kr


The deceased was found in the basement staircase of a commercial building. He was drunk the night before his death. He went into the building at 00:45 am as per the security camera recording. He was found at 9:10 am in an inverted and jackknife position causing the hyperflexion of his torso and neck. Autopsy findings revealed facial congestion and conjunctival petechiae. No evidence of critical trauma was noted. Therefore, he can be diagnosed with positional asphyxia. He must have lost his body balance and fallen on his back while climbing up the basement staircase for unknown reasons. His lower body was found to be in the jackknife position due to inertia. The drunken state and the accident prevented movement and this position was sustained for an extended period.


Asphyxia; Accidental falls; Autopsy

MeSH Terms

Accidental Falls*
Estrogens, Conjugated (USP)
Estrogens, Conjugated (USP)


  • Fig. 1 Deceased was found in an inverted and jackknife position in the basement staircase of a commercial building. His torso and neck were hyperflexed. A pool of blood was found around the scalp laceration on the left temporal area. (A) Lateral view. (B) Posterior view.

  • Fig. 2 Laceration, measuring 6.5 cm, was found on the scalp of the left temporal area (A). Many conjunctival petechiae were observed (B).


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