International Journal of Legal Medicine

, Volume 119, Issue 2, pp 88–90

Commotio cordis–A report of three cases

Case Report

DOI: 10.1007/s00414-004-0511-y

Cite this article as:
Hamilton, S.J., Sunter, J.P. & Cooper, P.N. Int J Legal Med (2005) 119: 88. doi:10.1007/s00414-004-0511-y


Commotio cordis is a recognised cause of sudden death in which an apparently minor blow to the chest causes ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest. It is best known for causing death during games of youth baseball in the United States, but individual cases have been recorded as a result of a wide range of activities, principally sporting. The underlying biochemical and mechano-electric causes have been well documented. However, there are few reported cases where commotio cordis is implicated as the cause of death in homicide cases. We present three cases from the north-east of England where an assault caused death by this mechanism.


Commotio cordisHomicideChest traumaMechano-electric feedback

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forensic Medicine Unit University Department of PathologyRoyal Victoria InfirmaryNewcastle upon TyneUnited Kingdom