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Journal Article


Crudele GDL, Di Candia D, Gentile G, Marchesi M, Rancati A, Zoja R. J. Forensic Sci. 2016; 61(2): 361-366.


Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche per la Salute, Sezione di Medicina Legale e delle Assicurazioni, Via Luigi Mangiagalli 37, 20133, Milan, Italy.


(Copyright © 2016, American Society for Testing and Materials, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)






Plastic Bag Suffocation is a rare cause of death in developed countries and almost unknown in the rest of the world. This study aims to retrospectively evaluate cases of PBS _asphyxia in Milan's Department of Legal Medicine from 1993 to 2013. Cases were selected from the database of 21,472 autopsies performed in the considered timeframe. One hundred and one cases were considered to be cases of Plastic Bag Suffocation, comprised of 100 suicides, no accidental events and 1 homicide. The most relevant elements pertaining to this type of death were evaluated for both the corpses and the crime scenes. From this study the typical PBS victim is an adult male, aged 52.3 years on average, depressed or afflicted by chronic or terminal diseases, and found at home. In 42.6% of cases, the victims were found with the plastic bag still positioned over their head, fastened by tying. Also common among these cases are drugs, alcohol and chemical abuses. According to the collected data, it is impossible to outline a pathognomonic detrimental background that leads to this cause of death. Crime scene investigation is, therefore, the one and only technical resource for evaluating these cases.

© 2015 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Language: en


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