For a game project, I need to study how much blood loss is suffered when the major arteries of the human body are severed. I believe there are medical textbooks that have collected data on blood volume loss from the various arteries, but I'm not sure where to look to find this data.

If there were some table with a list of arteries, and the volume of blood lost every second, with estimates for how long a surgeon has before the patient bleeds out; that would be extremely convenient. I suspect that isn't the case.

EDIT: I searched further for data on the subject, and found something dramatically unusual. I would like to ask how credible this data seems: http://realfighting.com/unconsciousness_and_death.php

The data is said to come from a Dr Lorne David Porayko and a Dr Christine Hall.

The web page has a list of times for bleeding to death from if various arteries were severed under the conditions:

  • There is no compression of a lacerated artery underway. This was irrelevant for a lacerated vein due to the fact that a vein can’t be compressed

  • The subject is previously healthy with a normal haemoglobin concentration and has a normal VO2 max prior to being wounded.

  • If an artery is the target, the artery is incompletely transacted. Completely transacted arteries go into vasospasm and retract into their perivascular sheaths which markedly reduces bleeding and even stopping bleeding all together in the case of smaller vessels. On this point Dr Porayko stated that this is the reason the Ghurkhas were trained to twist their knives in the femoral artery after puncturing it- to avoid a clean surgical transaction, thus preventing the vasospasm and retraction into the perivascular sheath, and instead to intentionally cause a hole in the vessel sidewall which is much more lethal.

    • The adventitia (a saran wrap like layer around the blood vessel) does not seal the wound ( The doctors stated that this usually does happen in survivors) and/or a clot does no form after blood pressure drops."

They then suggested the following data:

Carotid Artery:
Approx 2-20 minutes

Jugular Vein: Approx 15-60 minutes

Subclavian Artery: Approx 2-20 minutes. The doctors also noted: “this is a special circumstance anatomically because this vessel is protected by the clavicle and the first rib (sandwiched between them) if the Subclavian artery bleeds, the only way to compress it and repair it is to open the chest by thoracotomy. You cannot compress it. Patients usually die on the scene or en-route to hospital.

Subclavian Vein: Approx 15-60 minutes

Brachial Artery: 5-60 minutes. The doctors also noted: “pretty unusual to see these without compression by EMS)

Femoral Artery: 5-60 minutes. The doctors also noted: “Pretty unusual to see these without compression by EMS)

Aorta or any part of the heart: Approx 1-2 minutes. The doctors stated that the heart conducts 100% of cardiac output. Assuming transaction and that the hole does not seal. Ventricular holes do usually seal while the arterial ones do not due to the orientation of the muscle fibres.

Two other areas of note made by the doctors also included:

Popliteal Artery: Located behind the knee, would be similar (but slightly less) to cutting the femoral artery

Inferior Vena Cava: Can be attacked via a deep abdominal stab, similar to cutting the Jugular vein

Additionally, the Doctors shared anecdotes of patients who survived extreme blood loss, defying expectation:

  • One of the doctors has seen several patients with traumatic cardiotomies (a big hole in the heart) survive for 20 minutes before being treated

  • One of the doctors treated a patient who had been stabbed in the abdomen, where the knife hit the inferior vena cava, his belly was full of blood, he was conscious, although in shock, an hour after the injury when he arrived in the ER. He survived.

The doctors stated that they have seen patients who have bled out nearly their entire blood volume, but yet are still awake and talking (although looking bad) for many minutes following an injury and survive to tell their story. Dr Porayko stated, “So it is a mistake to underestimate a person’s capacity to compensate for acute hypovolemia and anemia (hemorrhagic shock), even when very severe. This is especially true in the younger population.



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