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List of terms related to Exsanguination

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Synonyms and keywords: Desagnuination; bleeding out; hemorrhagic shock; bleeding to death; massive blood loss; fatal bleed; fatal bleeding; fatal blood loss; severe hemorrhage; massive bleeding; massive bleed; massive hemorrhage


Exsanguination is the fatal process of total hypovolemia (blood loss). It is most commonly known as "bleeding to death."

Historical Perspective

The term was widely used by Hippocrates in traditional medicine practiced in the Greco-Roman civilization and in Europe during the Middle Age. The word was possibly used to describe the lack of personality (by death or by weakness) that often occurred once a person suffered hemorrhage or massive blood loss.

The exact ideology of the term, as it is commonly used, is not clearly understood. Medical literature suggests that a person who suffered massive blood loss as being alive, but some authors may be convinced the person is not living. This ambiguity is likely the cause of its infrequent use in the medical profession today.

The word itself originated from Latin: 'ex' (out of) and 'sanguis' (blood). Therefore the word literally means 'out of blood'.

Epidemiology and Demographics

Exsanguination is a relatively uncommon cause of death in humans.


It might be more precise to say that exsanguination is a mode of death rather than a cause, since exsanguination itself will have an underlying cause which is listed here:

Common causes

Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Ruptured aortic aneurysm, Aorticoduodenal fistula
Chemical / poisoning No underlying causes
Dermatologic No underlying causes
Drug Side Effect Breakthrough bleeding
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine No underlying causes
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic Dieulafoy's lesion, Esophageal variceal bleeding, Hematemesis, Hematochezia, Liver rupture, Mallory-Weiss syndrome, Oropharyngeal tumour erosion in mouth, Upper gastrointestinal bleed
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic Disseminated intravascular coagulation
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease No underlying causes
Musculoskeletal / Ortho No underlying causes
Neurologic Cerebral hemorrhage, Intracranial hemorrhage, Subarachnoid hemorrhage
Nutritional / Metabolic No underlying causes
Obstetric/Gynecologic Breakthrough bleeding, Ovarian bleeding, Postpartum hemorrhage, Vaginal bleeding
Oncologic Carotid artery erosion from neck metastases, Tumour lymph node erosion into adjacent vessels, Oropharyngeal tumour erosion in mouth
Opthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose / Toxicity No underlying causes
Psychiatric Suicide
Pulmonary Hemoptysis, Pulmonary artery rupture, Pulmonary hemorrhage, Pulmonary vein rupture
Renal / Electrolyte No underlying causes
Rheum / Immune / Allergy No underlying causes
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Trauma, Liver rupture, Pulmonary artery rupture, Pulmonary vein rupture
Urologic Hematuria
Dental No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Aorticoduodenal fistula, Internal hemorrhage, Retroperitoneal hematoma

Causes in Alphabetical Order


Medical Therapy


Related Chapters


  1. Liberty G, Hyman JH, Eldar-Geva T, Latinsky B, Gal M, Margalioth EJ (2008). "Ovarian hemorrhage after transvaginal ultrasonographically guided oocyte aspiration: a potentially catastrophic and not so rare complication among lean patients with polycystic ovary syndrome". Fertil. Steril. 93 (3): 874–879. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.10.028. PMID 19064264. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

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