Suspension trauma has been suggested as the possible cause of Jesus death. Suspension trauma occurs when a person is suspended in an unsupported position for a prolonged period of time. It has been observed that persons suspended in an unsupported position can faint and possibly die if not promptly rescued. For example, mountain climbers, saved from falling by safety cords, have died due to prolonged suspension in an unsupported position. The mechanism of death in these cases is thought to result from a relative hypovolemia (diminished circulating blood volume) due to blood pooling in the legs. Autopsy studies suggest tissue hypoperfusion (inadequate blood supply). Blood return to the heart through the veins is facilitated by muscular contraction in the legs, which causes a pumping action in the veins. In Suspension trauma, victims hang without support and are unable to move their legs against resistance.
This scenario and mechanism of death is inconsistent with crucifixion, however. The crucified victims legs were not unsupported, but were fastened to the cross by nails. The victim would be writhing in pain and from difficulty breathing. Reasonably, there would be more than adequate leg movement to facilitate venous blood return to the heart. Crucifixion is simply not analogous to suspension trauma.