Medical Definition of Traumatic asphyxia

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

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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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