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Latest Edit: Hector 2013-05-21 (EDT)

Causes Dietary Factors, Heavy Metals, Medical Procedures
See Also Cardiovascular Conditions, Anemia, Hypertension, Inflammation, Atherosclerosis, Stroke
Books Books on Cardiovascular Conditions
Articles Articles on Cardiovascular Conditions

Hemorrhage is defined as a copious discharge of blood from blood vessels. Hemorrhage may be external or enclosed with a tissue, referred to as a hematoma. Hematomas may be minor, such as a bruise or may be severe enough to cause death, depending on the location and size of the hematoma.[1]


Hemorrhages are typically a complication of an underlying associated condition, but there are some direct causes including:

  • Trauma or injury
  • Reaction of prescription medications

Associated Conditions

Types of Hemorrhage

Hemorrhages are typically classified based on size:[1]

  • Petechiae refer to small (1 to 2 mm) hemorrhages in skin, mucous membranes or serosal surfaces.
  • Purpura refer to larger (greater than 3 mm) hemorrhages.
  • Ecchymosis refer to large (greater than 1 to 2 cm) subcutaneous bruises.
  • Large internal hemorrhaging is classified based on the specific location, such as hemothorax, hemopericardium, hemoperitoneum or hemoarthrosis.


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [1]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Robbins Stanley, Cotran Ramzi, Kumar Vinay, Collins Tucker (1999) Pocket Companion to Robbins Patholoical Basis of Disease, 6th Edition W.B. Saunders.