Sudden death due to asphyxia by esophageal polyp: Two case reports and review of asphyxial deaths

Christina Carrick, Kim A. Collins, C. Jeff Lee, Joseph A. Prahlow, Jeffrey J. Barnard

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

39 Scopus citations


Asphyxia, not an uncommon cause of sudden death, may result from numerous etiologies. Foreign-body aspiration and strangulation are 2 extrinsic causes. Airway obstruction may also be caused by laryngeal edema, asthma, infection, or anaphylaxis. Chronic causes of asphyxia include musculoskeletal diseases (eg, muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), neurologic disorders (eg, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis), respiratory disease (eg, emphysema, chronic bronchitis), or tumors. The manner of death in cases of asphyxiation may be natural, accidental, homicide, or suicide. For the death investigator, determining the cause and manner of death can often be quite challenging. We report here 2 cases of an esophageal fibrovascular polyp causing sudden asphyxial death, review of the literature, and discussion of other differential diagnoses in the case of asphyxial death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-281
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005



  • Asphyxia
  • Esophageal polyp
  • Sudden death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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