Arteries Vs. Veins: How to Tell the Difference and Stop the Bleeding

Arteries flow away from the heart (red). Veins flow back toward it (blue). by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. When trying to stop a cut from bleeding, you need to know how to tell the difference between a bleeding vein and a bleeding artery. Memorize this saying: Arteries spurt. Veins don’t. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to tissue. Veins drain the blood back to the heart to resupply it with oxygen. Arteries pump. Veins dump. Step 1: Apply pressure. Use gauze or a clean cloth. If you don’t have anything else, use a gloved hand. If it’s yourself, as a last resort, use your bare hand. If it’s others, beware you could be exposing yourself to a blood-borne disease. Stuff a gash with a cloth (the cleanest you have) or gauze, and hold pressure. A shirt will do. Step 2: Determine whether it’s an artery or vein. […]