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Emergencies and First Aid - Direct Pressure to Stop Bleeding
Direct Pressure to Stop Bleeding
A wound that is deep, bleeding heavily, or has blood spurting from it (caused by bleeding from an artery), may not clot and may not stop bleeding.
Call out for someone to get help, or call 911 yourself. Elevate the wound and apply direct pressure.
Pressure Points for Severe Bleeding
If severe bleeding does not stop with direct pressure and elevation, apply direct pressure to an artery. Use direct pressure on an artery along with elevation and direct pressure on the wound. There are specific major arteries in the body where pressure should be placed (see illustration below).
When you apply pressure to an artery, you stop bleeding by pushing the artery against bone. Press down firmly on the artery between the bleeding site and the heart. If there is severe bleeding, also apply firm pressure directly to the bleeding site.
To check if bleeding has stopped, release your fingers slowly from the pressure point, but do not release pressure at the bleeding site. If bleeding continues, continue to apply pressure to the artery. Continue until the bleeding stops or until help arrives. After bleeding stops, do not continue to apply pressure
to an artery for longer than 5 minutes.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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