Cause of Death in Cut Throat Injury: A Deadly and Traumatic Form of Neck Trauma

What is a cut throat injury?

A cut throat injury (CTI) is a type of neck trauma that involves an open or incised wound in the neck caused by a sharp object, such as a knife, razor, or glass. CTIs can be superficial or penetrating, depending on the depth and extent of the injury. CTIs can also be classified into three anatomical zones, according to the location of the wound:

  • Zone I: The area between the clavicles and the cricoid cartilage, which contains the major vessels, the trachea, the esophagus, and the thyroid gland.
  • Zone II: The area between the cricoid cartilage and the angle of the mandible, which contains the carotid arteries, the jugular veins, the larynx, and the pharynx.
  • Zone III: The area above the angle of the mandible, which contains the distal carotid arteries, the vertebral arteries, and the cranial nerves.

CTIs can occur due to various causes, such as accidents, homicides, or suicides.

How can a cut throat injury cause death?

A CTI can cause death by several mechanisms, such as:

  • Hemorrhage: Bleeding from the damaged blood vessels can lead to hypovolemic shock, which is a life-threatening condition where the body does not have enough blood to function properly. Hemorrhage can also cause air embolism, which is when air bubbles enter the bloodstream and block the blood flow to vital organs.
  • Asphyxia: Obstruction of the airway by the wound, the blood, or the foreign body can prevent the person from breathing normally. Asphyxia can also result from damage to the larynx, the trachea, or the nerves that control the respiratory muscles.
  • Infection: The wound can become infected by bacteria or fungi, which can spread to the surrounding tissues or the bloodstream. Infection can cause inflammation, sepsis, or abscess formation, which can impair the function of the affected organs or systems.
  • Complications: The wound can cause damage to other structures in the neck, such as the esophagus, the thyroid gland, the spinal cord, or the cervical vertebrae. This can lead to complications such as dysphagia, hypothyroidism, paralysis, or spinal instability.

How can a cut throat injury be treated?

A CTI is a medical emergency that requires immediate and proper management. The main goals of the treatment are to secure the airway, control the bleeding, and repair the wound. The treatment may involve the following steps:

  • Initial assessment: The person should be assessed for the level of consciousness, the vital signs, the extent of the wound, and the signs of shock or asphyxia. The person should also be examined for other injuries or foreign bodies in the wound.
  • Airway management: The person should be given oxygen and placed in a position that facilitates breathing. If the airway is obstructed or compromised, an emergency tracheostomy or cricothyrotomy may be performed to create an artificial opening in the windpipe.
  • Hemorrhage control: The person should be given intravenous fluids and blood transfusions to restore the blood volume and pressure. The bleeding vessels should be identified and ligated or cauterized to stop the bleeding. A pressure dressing or a tourniquet may be applied to the wound to reduce the blood loss.
  • Wound repair: The person should be taken to the operating room for surgical exploration and repair of the wound. The wound should be cleaned and debrided to remove any debris or infected tissue. The damaged structures should be sutured or reconstructed using grafts or flaps. The wound should be closed and dressed with sterile bandages.
  • Postoperative care: The person should be monitored for any signs of infection, bleeding, or complications. The person should be given antibiotics, analgesics, and tetanus prophylaxis to prevent infection, pain, and


A CTI is a serious and potentially fatal form of neck trauma that can cause death by hemorrhage, asphyxia, infection, or complications. A CTI requires prompt and adequate treatment to secure the airway, control the bleeding, and repair the wound. A CTI can also have a significant impact on the physical, mental, and social well-being of the person and the society. Therefore, preventive measures, such as reducing the availability and access to sharp objects, increasing the awareness and education on the risks and consequences of CTIs, and providing timely and appropriate medical and psychological care, are essential to reduce the incidence and mortality of CTIs.