Suffocation injuries and death can result from suicidal intent, assault or accidental injury. In the United States, the rate of suicide by intentional asphyxiation is second only to suicide by firearms. In regions with less access to firearms, intentional asphyxiation by hanging is the leading means of suicide attempts. Choking is a form of unintentional asphyxiation and is the third leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United states between 2000 and 2013 in adults aged 65 years or older and is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children.
The current medical literature describing suffocation injuries and clinical outcomes is limited and is mostly focused on death from asphyxiation by hanging or strangulation injuries. This study aims to describe the characteristics of patients presenting to EDs in the US with all forms of suffocation injuries and to identify predictors of mortality in this population.
All patients presenting to the 92 ED's in the U.S. with suffocation injuries
ICD-9-CM codes were used to identify patients with suffocation injuries
The following ICD-9-CM codes were included
Injury Description ICD-9 CM codes
Accidental mechanical suffocation: E913.0, E913.1, E913.2, E913.3, E913.8, E913.9
Suicide and self-inflicted injury by hanging, strangulation, and suffocation: E953.0, E953.1, E953.8, E953.9
Hanging, strangulation, or suffocation, undetermined whether accidentally or purposely inflicted: E983.0, E983.1, E983.8, E983.9
Inhalation and ingestion of food causing obstruction of respiratory tract or suffocation: E911
Asphyxiation and strangulation: 994.7