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Survival from accidental strangulation from a scarf resulting in laryngeal rupture and carotid artery stenosis: the “Isadora Duncan syndrome”. A case report and review of literature
  1. P A Gowens1,
  2. R J Davenport2,
  3. J Kerr3,
  4. R J Sanderson3,
  5. A K Marsden1
  1. 1The Scottish Ambulance Service, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr P A Gowens, The Scottish Ambulance Service, Tipperlinn Road, Edinburgh EH10 5UU, UK; 


In 1929 the dancer Isadora Duncan died from strangulation and carotid artery insult when her scarf caught in the wheels of a motor vehicle in which she was travelling. As part of the Edinburgh Festival scene, cycle propelled rickshaws are in popular use as short range taxis. The case is presented of a student who sustained a laryngeal rupture from strangulation with a scarf in the same way as Isadora. Despite an out of hospital cardiorespiratory arrest, severe laryngeal trauma, and carotid artery damage resulting in hemiparesis, the patient was successfully resuscitated and recovered with no neurological deficit. It is believed that this is the first recorded survival from this condition.

  • accidental strangulation
  • airway obstruction
  • laryngeal rupture
  • traumatic carotid artery
  • stenosis
  • Isadora Duncan

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  • Conflict of interests: none.

  • Funding: none.