Aspiration of Particulate Material

Aspiration of various types of particulate material causes obstruction in the lower respiratory tract. Examples include:

• Sand and/or gravel following burial of a live individual. Initial mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and intubation can further impact material (see Chapter 5, Subheading 10.2. and refs. 401-404).

• Pepper. Most cases described are homicides—i.e., punishment of a child by forcibly putting pepper in its mouth (405-407). Mechanisms of death include mechanical obstruction and mucosal edema due to the irritant effects of pepper.

• Talcum powder (children [408-410]). Talc particles (magnesium silicate) are polariz-able, and demonstrated on microscopic examination of the lungs.

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