Fatal wounds to the thorax caused by gunshots from blank cartridges

M. A. Rothschild, B. Karger, H. Strauch, H. Joachim

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30 Scopus citations


Lethal injuries of the thorax due to shots fired from blank cartridges calibre 8 mm are reported in three cases. The muzzle of the weapon was in contact with the left side of the breast (contact discharge) and injuries to bones were absent in all three cases. In two of the cases the pericardium was not involved bur the anterior wall of the right heart ventricle was ruptured and death was due to cardiac tamponade. In the third case the pericardial sac and the left ventricle were both ruptured and the victim died due to rapid exsanguination. The cases demonstrate that the gas pressure from the exploding propellent of blank ammunition can be powerful enough to penetrate the thoracic wall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-81
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Blank cartridges
  • Fatalities
  • Starter's pistols
  • Wound ballistics


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