Can Neck Contusions in Unexplained Pediatric Deaths be Explained by Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation?

Kimberly Wells, Rudy J. Castellani*, Joyce L. deJong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The distribution of cutaneous contusions in infants may raise the possibility of maltreatment. Neck contusions are particularly problematic since they seldom occur outside the setting of abuse, while cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)-related maneuvers may involve the neck. To address the role of CPR in neck findings, we examined 260 consecutive pediatric autopsies in which CPR was attempted. No neck contusions were identified in manners of death classified as natural, undetermined, or suicide. Contusions were present in two of 80 deaths classified as accident and had obvious accidental causes. About 26% of deaths classified as homicide had neck contusions with no explanation provided by the caregiver (p < 0.0001). In conclusion, neck contusions in deceased children with no apparent explanation should be regarded as suspicious for abuse and investigated accordingly. CPR is not a plausible explanation for neck contusions in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-772
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2019


  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • child abuse
  • contusion
  • forensic pathology
  • forensic science
  • injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Can Neck Contusions in Unexplained Pediatric Deaths be Explained by Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this