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Kenderson
08-20-2012, 11:34 PM
I don't know if this is the correct place to put this thread because I don't have a question, but I do have information on anyone who might need this. I did a search to see if the topic has ever been brought up and I couldn't find anything, so if it has, I apologize.

I am in the middle of a book by one of my favorite authors and I came across a mistake that I see over and over again, by many authors in many books. Without quoting anyone in particular, the problem I notice is when I see something like: the blood pulses in the vein in the neck, the vein pulses, the vein flutters, the vein beats, etc...

As someone who works in the medical field and actually sees veins with the equipment I use I can tell you a vein does not pulse, beat, flutter, or anything similar. EVER. An artery does that. Vein is not a synonym for artery. One could use the word (blood) vessel if they wanted, but please don't use the word vein. I cringe every time I see this mistake.

If it helps to make sense by understanding the difference check out http://www.diffen.com/difference/Arteries_vs_Veins

I hope this is helpful. :)

Snick
08-21-2012, 12:32 AM
I have noticed the same, but I take it to indicate the author is using "vein: as a general term for any blood vessle.

shaldna
08-21-2012, 12:45 AM
I've seen it myself - I worked in veterinary science, and you'd be surprised the number of 4th year students who still said things like that - they knew what they meant, but they weren't 'right'

I think it's because the lay person doesn't generally know, or care, about the difference. Artistic licence and all that.

Edited to add: it's why I laugh at vampire novels/movies where the flow of blood is just enough to lap up- when a bite to the side of the neck is more likely to severe the common cartoid than the jugular - and if you severe and artery then that 'stream' of blood is gonna hit a wall 20 feet away.

Not to mention if you severe the jugular you're probably not gonna live anyway.

MMcDonald64
08-21-2012, 03:17 AM
I draw blood from arteries, and after I explain the difference between the blood I'm drawing and what the lab drew from their vein, about half the patients nod and say, "Yeah, but you're going to have a hard time getting blood from my veins because they always do."

I try to explain that an artery is much different and difficulty getting blood from a vein doesn't necessarily mean it will be hard to draw from an artery and vice versa, but most don't get it.

Kenderson
08-21-2012, 03:54 AM
Shaldna, I can see what you're saying about students knowing what they are talking about but using the wrong term. I have doctors who will order a arterial lower extremity ultrasound and the reason is to rule out a deep vein thrombosis. Even doctors do it. :-)

Kenn
08-21-2012, 02:28 PM
There is a difference between pulse and pulsate. Pulse means to move in pulses (like a pulse of radiation) and does not suggest any visible movement. What you are talking about is pulsate. The blood will pulse through the veins (how else does it get through?), although they don't pulsate in response (i.e. go in and out). This is because they are at a lower pressure and the flow is smoother. I think you have to be careful about condemning authors for describing arteries incorrectly, although I've no doubt many of them get it wrong.

GeorgeK
08-21-2012, 04:09 PM
Actually, as a physician I find the, "Jugular pulsating," during stress in a medieval fantasy setting the least offensive thing that I see in print. The reason for that is that in those worlds presumably rheumatic fever is a part of life. It has a tendency (assuming the character survived which they did if they are a character in a novel) to cause some tricuspic valve insufficiency which in most young adults and adults who are not geriatric is usually asymptomatic except for during stress you can see the jugulars pulse because of retrograde pressure intermittently blocking or really slowing the normal smooth flow through the jugulars.

WeaselFire
08-21-2012, 04:10 PM
One of the reasons I'm bothered by the term "Go for the jugular." The carotid artery is a much better target... :)

Jeff

GeorgeK
08-21-2012, 04:25 PM
One of the reasons I'm bothered by the term "Go for the jugular." The carotid artery is a much better target... :)

Jeff

That too is open for interpretation. The carotid as an artery is surrounded by what is actually a sturdy layer of muscle and is located strategically so as to not be stretched over a bone at any convenient place. This means that short of strangulation, blunt trauma is unlikely to have much affect and it takes a reasonably sharp implement to sever it. The jugular however, is a vein. Sewing a vein is only a little easier than sewing wet toilet paper. It has little structural integrity compared to an artery, is realatively easy to damage and occlude. The jugular is a weaker target that carries the same blood flow as the carotid. It's a slower kill than the carotid, but is still most likely a killing blow.

That said, they run side by side, so in a penetrating trauma situation you'll probably hit both anyway.

Write On!

boron
08-21-2012, 06:21 PM
The neck veins may bulge out during exercise (weightlifting (http://games2009.crossfit.com/assets_c/2009/05/LauraDeMarco-thumb-400x296-465.jpg)), singing (http://www.flickr.com/photos/40016971@N06/3677434519) or when someone is angry. So they are bulging, not pulsating, veins and it seems some people don't care about the difference.

Niniva
08-21-2012, 06:34 PM
Well, crap. I never really thought about it before. I think I have a pulsing vessel in someone's forehead as he goes apoplectic, and I'm sure I just called it a vein like everyone else...

AND, I know better. Lemme go fix that.

boron
08-21-2012, 06:59 PM
Well, crap. I never really thought about it before. I think I have a pulsing vessel in someone's forehead as he goes apoplectic, and I'm sure I just called it a vein like everyone else...

AND, I know better. Lemme go fix that.

I'm not very sure if pulsating arteries in an angry man can be noticed by an observer. It is the angry person who feels the pulsating arteries; the observer would see bulging veins.

Kenderson
09-03-2012, 07:13 PM
There is a difference between pulse and pulsate. Pulse means to move in pulses (like a pulse of radiation) and does not suggest any visible movement. What you are talking about is pulsate. The blood will pulse through the veins (how else does it get through?), although they don't pulsate in response (i.e. go in and out). This is because they are at a lower pressure and the flow is smoother. I think you have to be careful about condemning authors for describing arteries incorrectly, although I've no doubt many of them get it wrong.

I apologize if anyone thought I was condemning authors. I did not mean it that way. I was simply making a suggestion for anyone in the future.
Even though I'm using the term wrong as far a visual goes, either way I was referring to when an author says something like they can see the blood pulse through vein in another person's neck.
As far as blood returning to the heart through the veins... This is the definition of pulse, "the regular throbbing of the arteries, caused by the successive contractions of the heart, especially as may be felt at an artery, as at the wrist." The blood pumps through arteries from the beats from the heart. However, the heart does not pump the blood in the veins. The blood flowing though veins is influenced by movement, breathing, position, pressure, etc. I don't know if that make sense, but that's why it doesn't pulse. It doesn't return to the heart in continuous rhythmic flow, like arteries, because of all those factors. I literally watch blood move through arteries and veins for my job via an ultrasound machine. I can tell you, there is indeed a difference in the flow. :)

Kenn
09-03-2012, 08:49 PM
I apologize if anyone thought I was condemning authors. I did not mean it that way. I was simply making a suggestion for anyone in the future.
Even though I'm using the term wrong as far a visual goes, either way I was referring to when an author says something like they can see the blood pulse through vein in another person's neck.
As far as blood returning to the heart through the veins... This is the definition of pulse, "the regular throbbing of the arteries, caused by the successive contractions of the heart, especially as may be felt at an artery, as at the wrist." The blood pumps through arteries from the beats from the heart. However, the heart does not pump the blood in the veins. The blood flowing though veins is influenced by movement, breathing, position, pressure, etc. I don't know if that make sense, but that's why it doesn't pulse. It doesn't return to the heart in continuous rhythmic flow, like arteries, because of all those factors. I literally watch blood move through arteries and veins for my job via an ultrasound machine. I can tell you, there is indeed a difference in the flow. :)
The pulse you are quoting here is a noun and doesn't mean to move in pulses. As for the veins, they tend not to pulsate because the pressure fluctations have been dampened. The heart is still responsible for driving the blood by maintaining the head of pressure, however, and as it beats, this will vary sinusoidally. Whether this is discernible will depend on how far down the pipeline you are, I suppose. I suppose also that you could argue there is a difference between a fluctuating pressure in a moving fluid and moving in pulses, but that is debatable. I understand what your saying and don't disagree with it. I was only pointing out that there is a difference between 'could see the blood was pulsing through his veins' and 'could see the blood pulsing through his veins'.

StephanieFox
09-03-2012, 10:25 PM
Although not medically correct, the word 'vein' outside technical use and in popular and casual speech means blood vessels. It the same way we say, 'The stars are beautiful tonight,' when me mean stars and planets. The same of 'pulsating' or bulging. And when you say, 'He was so angry, he almost burst a blood vessel,' it usually just means that he was very angry. There was no medical emergency involved.

Or, he s**t a brick. Not really. Well, hardly ever.