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Hemorrhage

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Definition

noun

The escape of blood from the vessels within or from the body; bleeding


verb

To bleed profusely


Supplement

Hemorrhage refers to the escape of blood from the blood vessels. The blood corpuscles are discharged from their normal route in the blood circulatory system, caused by wounds and diseases. It may occur internally (i.e. inside the body) or externally (i.e. through orifices or a break in the skin). Excessive blood loss such as in exsanguination could lead to death. In humans, a blood loss of 10 to 15 % of the total blood volume would generally not lead to any major health risk. However, beyond that limit could cause death. The body has to prevent too much blood loss and it does so by hemostasis. Hemostasis is a process that stops or arrest bleeding. It helps keep the blood within the damaged blood vessel. This is the first stage of tissue repair and wound healing and involves three major stages: (1) vascular spasm or vasoconstriction, temporary blockage of a break by a platelet plug, and (3) blood coagulation (clot formation).

Small haemorrhages are classified according to size as petechiale (very small), purpura (up to 1 cm) and ecchymoses (larger). The massive accumulation of blood within a tissue is called a haematoma.


Word origin: Latin haemorrhagia, from Ancient Greek haimorrhagía (“a violent bleeding”), from haîma (“blood”) + -ragía, rhēgnúnai (“to break, burst”)

Variant(s):

  • Haemorrhage

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Related term(s):