General Question

alabare's avatar

Why did I almost black out after cutting off the tip of my finger?

Asked by alabare (282 points ) May 18th, 2008

Stupid accident with a utility knife. Blood was fairly heavy but I didn’t lose much. I don’t mind the sight of blood at all and the pain certainly could have been worse. So why the hell did I almost pass out? Adrenaline overload or something? And yes, typing sucks!

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11 Answers

jstringham21's avatar

Your arteries and veins were sending pain signals to your brain.

alabare's avatar

Hmm. But I’ve hurt worse stubbing my toe.

shilolo's avatar

You likely suffered from what is called vasovagal syncope, most likely triggered by the pain in the finger. It is actually a reflex event, so not one you can “control”. The pain sent a signal to your brain which then quickly signaled the blood vessels in your legs to dilate, leading to pooling of blood in your legs. More blood in the legs means less to the heart and brain. Thus, you “almost passed out”. As you so correctly alluded to, this is also commonly triggered by the sight of blood.

alabare's avatar

Wow, great answer! Thanks a bunch.

shilolo's avatar

No problem. Don’t forget you should probably get a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one recently… (i.e. in the last 5–10 years) since you were cut by a knife.

alabare's avatar

Yeah, spent a goof portion of the day in the ER.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

yeah, same thing happened to me when i smashed my thumb in a car door and broke the nail open. like you, the blood didnt bother me but i got that sick feeling in my stomach and really light-headed. I sat down and had some cold water and felt much better. Although, when I was rinsing off the blood in the sick the lady turned on the garbage disposal so that might not have helped ;) anyway, she said it had something to do some nerve near your stomach that starts with a v.

shilolo's avatar

@8. You must be referring to the vagus nerve. Thus the term, vasovagal syncope.

8lightminutesaway's avatar

ah, thats what it is. Thanks!

cheebdragon's avatar

because your cool like that…......

Zaku's avatar

I think it happens as a survival mechanism… to get you to stop cutting yourself apart!

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