How far can blood spurt? B grade horror and spoof movies, and the occasional television show would have us believe it goes far and wide. Even one of the classic Monty Python films, Monty Python and The Holy Grail (definitely no a B grade movie) over exaggerates the spurting and volume to some extent with the Black Knight. To be a little more accurate, they make it seem like it is a fire hose filed with ketchup. It really makes me begin to think just how much blood the average body contains. The reality is that blood spurts far less than the special effect guys would be willing to admit. In fact, Hollywood would make us think it’s almost limitless, and could fill any backyard kiddy wading pool.
How far can blood spurt?
So the burning question remains. How far can blood spurt?
To begin to answer this question we must first look at how much pressure the heart produces? The higher the blood pressure, the further it will spray, just like any liquid under pressure. Another factor in knowing how far blood can spurt is the size of the leak. With a fully severed carotid artery, Dr. Clement Harrisse Arnold testified in court during a murder trial in 1933 that it can squirt six inches (12.5cm) vertically and 18 inches (45cm) laterally and it will continue to spurt for 30 seconds. However, if it is nicked it can travel much further and higher.
There is even a test that can be conducted for individuals to determine how far blood spurts. This test is used in intraoperative assessments to determine arm blood flow before an artery harvest.