What Happens If You Cut a Vein?

When veins are cut, they initially bleed but are usually able to seal themselves shortly, according to The Hand to Elbow Clinic. Because the flow of blood from veins is relatively slow, Dr. Ben Kim states that the blood can generally be stopped by putting pressure on the wound.

Veins carry blood to the heart through the lungs, says The Hand to Elbow Clinic. Because of this, they usually have less pressure than arteries, making treatment less crucial. However, elderly patients report more difficulty in stemming the bleeding; elevating the injury helps to seal a vein.

Venous bleeding can be confused with arterial injuries, says Dr. Kim. However, arterial bleeding is not only a brighter red that bleeds profusely but is a far rarer and more dangerous injury. If only one artery is cut, the body can often repair itself without harm. However, The Hand to Elbow Clinic cautions that if both of the main arteries in a limb are cut, the limb can die within four to six hours without surgical intervention. Arterial bleeding also bleeds in spurts that match the rhythm of the heartbeat, while venous bleeding is slow, steady and continuous.

When a vein or artery is severed, Dr. Kim urges people to keep applying pressure until the bleeding stops completely; layer clean absorbent materials over the saturated ones to get the bleeding to stop.