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Injuries of the head and neck with suicidal intention might create serious situations that require rapid and interdisciplinary treatment. Twenty-seven patients with suicidal head and neck injuries were treated at the Department of oto-rhino-laryngology, head and neck surgery, University of Wurzburg/Germany, between 1991 and 2002. The medical histories were analyzed retrospectively. Twenty-three of them were male, 4 female. Mean age at time of attempted suicidal was 48 years (18 - 90). One patient was already treated for a psychiatric disorder. None of the patients had a suicidal attempt in the history. Nine patients suffered from a pharynx or larynx trauma after strangulation. Four out of seven patients with cutting or stabbing injuries showed a perforation of the upper airways. Nine patients had gunshot traumas, one of them with perforation of the pharynx. Thirteen patients underwent immediate endoscopy under general anaesthesia followed by a neck exploration in 3 patients. Six patients received a temporary tracheotomy. All patients were considered suicidal for the duration of stay in the ENT-department resulting in a permanent supervision. All patients were transferred to a psychiatric unit as soon as possible for further treatment. A statistically significant accumulation was observed during the last third of a year. Over the period of 11 years, suicidal injuries of the head and neck tend to occur more frequently. The presented study emphasizes the need of immediate surgical and intensive care treatment of patients with head and neck injuries due to suicide attempts as well as an adequate psychiatric supervision during as well as after the surgical treatment.

Citation

M Herzog, F Hoppe, G Baier, R Dieler. Injuries of the head and neck in suicidal intention]. Laryngo- rhino- otologie. 2005 Mar;84(3):176-81

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PMID: 15770565

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