Medical Definition of Traumatic asphyxia

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Reviewed on 12/24/2018

Traumatic asphyxia: a medical emergency that result in the loss of the ability to breathe brought on by intense compression of the chest. This leads to back-flow of blood from the right side of the heart into the veins of the neck and brain. Traumatic asphyxia is also known as Perte’s syndrome. Symptoms and signs of traumatic asphyxia include swelling of the face and neck, bluish discoloration (cyanosis) of the head and neck, subconjunctival bleeding in the eyes, and small spot-like hemorrhages on the skin of the face, neck, and upper chest.

See also: asphyxia



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Reviewed on 12/24/2018
Eken, C. et al. "Traumatic asphyxia: a rare syndrome in trauma patients." Int J Emerg Med. 2009 Dec; 2(4): 255–256. Published online 2009 Aug 1. doi: 10.1007/s12245-009-0115-x