Introduction: The term ‘asphyxia’ literally means lack of oxygen, though etymologically, asphyxia means ‘absence of pulsations’. Death is said to have occurred due to asphyxia, when respiratory function ceases first and initiates the process of failure of other two vital systems. In asphyxia, there is prevention of exchange of air between the atmosphere and the alveoli of lungs sand there is lack of oxygen supply to the tissues.
Materials and Methods: The study was conducted in Department of Forensic Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi; Uttar Pradesh. It is a retrospective study. The study was conducted during October 2016 to March 2018. The parameters studied were cause, manner and types of asphyxial deaths, education, occupation, socio-economic status, motive, age and gender of victims.
Results: Total 150 out of 2976 medico-legal deaths were identified to be due to violent asphyxia with incidence rate of 5%. Asphyxial deaths were more common in males (61.33%). Most common age group involved was 21-30 years. Hanging was the most common method of death constituting 57.33 % of cases followed by drowning 24.0% cases, strangulation 4.67%.cases, smothering 0.67%.cases and traumatic asphyxia 12%.
Conclusion: Males and young age group population between 21-30 years are more vulnerable victims of violent asphyxia deaths. Suicidal deaths as a result of hanging and drowning, accidental deaths as a result of traumatic asphyxia seem to be the major contributing causes of violent asphyxial deaths.