Hanging can be quick and merciful or slow and cruel. A person being hung may die as a result of several mechanisms alone or in combination.




compression of carotid and vertebral arteries

decreased blood supply to brain; trigger the carotid reflex

bradycardia from carotid reflex and/or pressure on the carotid bodies

cardiac arrest

compression of the larynx


hangman's fracture with acute trauma to the cervical spine at C1-C2

loss of consciousness and interference with respiratory controls


instant and irrevocable death

subarachnoid hemorrhage

increased intracranial pressure

compression of jugular veins



Asphyxiation by compression of the airway tends to be a slow and agonizing death unless the person has been rendered unconscious by one of the other mechanisms.


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