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Ballistic Pressure Wave Theory Confirmed in Human Autopsy Results

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Pasteur, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. Pasteur

    Pasteur Member

    For pressure waves of sufficient magnitude, the ballistic pressure wave theory predicts brain injury from well centered bullet hits to the chest. Critics of the theory pointed out that this prediction had not been confirmed in humans. Recent human autopsy results have demonstrated brain hemorrhaging from fatal hits to the chest, including cases with handgun bullets. (Krajsa, J., Příčiny, Causes of pericapillar brain haemorrhages accompanying a gunshot wounds, Institute of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, 2009.) Thirty-three cases of fatal penetrating chest wounds by a single bullet were selected from a much larger set by excluding all other traumatic factors, including past history.

    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  2. bullturkey

    bullturkey Well-Known Member

    I will jump in where angels fear to tread. No mention is made of caliber, energy transfer, etc. Will a 22 to the chest cause this?
  3. Snowdog

    Snowdog Well-Known Member

    So... does this new moniker equate to on-line Nomex?
    Naw c'mon it'll be fine, post this thread under your real handle... I dare you. :D

    BADUNAME37 Well-Known Member

    Considering the high volume of water the human body consists of, this doesn't surprise me at all.
    In fact I think that it happens to me just from me shooting my S&W 500!
  5. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    The work in question is a Ph.D. dissertation. I found the abstract here (http://is.muni.cz/th/132384/lf_d/annotation_english.txt),
    but found no mention of handgun/pistol What I did find was this quote that I found interesting and revealing...

    In other words, a sudden increase in blood pressure caused micro bleeds in the brain. My guess is that they occurred elsewhere too. Such as might happen when hit in the body with a baseball or punch to the chest.

    Something else of noteworthy origin was this..
    The population was heavily laden with drinkers such that over half had alcohol in their systems when killed and I would be willing to guess that a large portion of those not imbibing at the time of being shot were drinkers as well. Alcoholism goes hand-in-hand with small subcortical infarcts and primary subcortical haemorrhages. Moderate drinking of alcohol increases risk of both intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

    With all that said, the big question is, SO WHAT? There is no data that the blood pressure spike did anything to them in terms of incapacitation from the microbleeds that resulted.

    For example, see...

    Add to this that smoking and alcohol consumption are critical risk factors in causing cerebral microbleeds (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2729822) and given tobacco use in Czechoslovakia, I would be curious as to how the author of the study differentiated between bleeding caused by gunshot versus bleeding caused by tobacco and alcohol use.

    So no doubt that if you already have weakened blood vessels due to even moderate drinking of alcohol, then something causing a rapid increase in blood pressure is likely to cause micro bleeds.

    Unless our OP reads check and has a copy of the original study, I would be willing to be he doesn't know. This quote..
    came straight from Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock).

    Aside from this quote in Wiki, I don't find any other information on the work noting what is or is not caused by particular calibers of handgun ammo. Maybe somebody with more insight or Google-fu can find it.

    Very good, Snowdog. Who is the one person that consistently uses the phrase "Ballsitic Pressure Wave Theory" here most commonly and battling with members over the validity of his research? That would be Michael Courtney. I am sure he would not have broken rule#2 and posted under multiple registrations, LOL, even if such findings as this Czech work would confirm his theory and his vindicate his claims.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  6. Pasteur

    Pasteur Member

    The most commonly reported caliber in the study is 9mm.

    Several other studies have shown that pressure wave magnitude is strongly correlated with incapacitation. This study is unique, because it documents the possible mechanism of remote brain injury in humans.

    The Hydrostatic Shock Wikipedia page ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock ) was an important source for the OP. However, before making the OP, I corrected the English translation of the study title, and I downloaded and reviewed the entire report to confirm that it includes a significant number of handgun cases.
  7. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

    "Thirty-three cases of fatal penetrating chest wounds by a single bullet were selected"

    "I downloaded and reviewed the entire report to confirm that it includes a significant number of handgun cases."

    Am I reading this correctly? The number of handgun cases is a subset of the 33 cases originally selected? What part of 33 could even be considered significant? I'm not sure all 33 could be considered significant.

  8. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Nice waffle job. The thread title says that pressure wave theory is confirmed and then you say it is a "possible mechanism."

    Once again, so what. Yeah, some micro-bleeds were observed. There is no indication that these were of any significance. As I stated, there were likely other such bleeds elsewhere in the body as well for the same reason. Big deal.

    Just curious since you did the Wiki pages and have posted here and on Glocktalk and elsewhere, do you realize that you have improperly spelled the author's name every time? It is Krajsa, not Krasjsa. I mention this because it makes it much harder to try to find the stuff you are supposedly citing only to then have it not turn up because you got the information wrong repeatedly.

    Here is the good Dr.s' home page...

    Alright, after working through the spelling issue, I was able to find the original work and translate it myself using an online translator. Since you didn't provide the correct information for finding your source or a link, let me do that for you. It can be found near the bottom of the page here...

    BRAVO! After translating and reading through the study, I believe you are correct. It is the most commonly mentioned caliber. Heck there is even a pick of a "9 mm Luger" cartridge. HOWEVER, 9mm is discussed in all sorts of manners including testing on animal legs, gunshot to the breast (female suicide), gunshots to the head, etc.

    Part of what I found interesting was the amount of cases excluded for various reasons. They were excluded when there was any known impacts on the head or body that might have resulted in increased blood pressure such as attempts to revive or other trauma as reflected by such matters as damage to the body. Then, when the brain tissue samples were examined, micro bleeding sometimes could only be ascertained under a microscope because it was so minor, though some was macroscopically visible. It was noted that such bleeding could occur anywhere, but did not necessarily occur everywhere, but was most commonly at the edge of the white matter.

    In looking at the histological images at the end, some of the microbleeds are correlated with calibers, such as the suicide to the chest noted above. Of course to see the damage, magnification of 100-250x was needed.

    Translated from page 115...
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2009
  9. Clifford

    Clifford Well-Known Member

    Personally I am not suprised with this info. To me it seems logical that a high velocity round could inflict brain damaged by hydralic shock force alone. We are 80% or so water after all.
  10. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Strong enough to cause problems with the fine mesh of brain cells is one thing. A similar interference with very small blood vessels in another part of the body would yield nothing worse than a mild bruise. To show the true effect of hydrostatic shock you'd need to determine the point beyond which the shockwave is strong enough to tear major blood vessels and organ tissue sufficiently to contribute to shock and death.
  11. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Well-Known Member

    Alright, but how do the effects of these blood-pressure waves compare to those of a solid punch to the head, or any other cause of a concussion?
  12. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Well-Known Member

    heres my question, if this is such a huge phenomenon, why hasn't it been confirmed before now, I mean I can just picture my drill with that vein bulging in his forehead telling my it's where you hit em that counts...

    Funny thing is, he didn't fall over from that pressure...
  13. Pasteur

    Pasteur Member

    For a hit to the center of the chest, average time until incapacitation decreases rapidly with pressure wave magnitude as magnitudes approach 500 psi. See: Links between traumatic brain injury and ballistic pressure waves originating in the thoracic cavity and extremities. Brain Injury 21(7): 657-662, 2007.

    Ballistic pressure waves that were measured with a high speed pressure transducer for the specified loads. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_shock
  14. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Look Courtney, we see folks shot all the time with handgun calibers who don't get incapacitated. These tiny brain bleeds are inconsequential. You drop a pebble in the pond and the ripple waves make it to the far shore and disturb some of the flotsam, but they don't tear out the dam.

    So how come you are posting under a new moniker now?

    DAVIDSDIVAD member

    Blood pressure is a tricky thing, in that it's a closed system.

    Don't think blood loss; think pressure changes.

    I think the only reason this study might be viable is that the sudden spike in blood pressure might cause the body to react by reducing it somehow.

    The reason you faint when you stand up is due to the baroreceptor reflex.

    If a gunshot caused a sudden short in the baroreceptors of the brain, I could definitely see it causing an immediate incapacitation (if only for a few seconds.)
  16. tkopp

    tkopp Well-Known Member

    You'd think an effect as obvious and consistent as this would have some anecdotal analogue from individuals in the military or law enforcement. It's not like shooting people is some theoretical concept. Heck, you can ask people who've been shot. A lot of them live!

  17. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    Actually, there's a lot of anecdotal evidence that this CAN happen.

    This is what Roy Weatherby postulated was the cause of game that dropped in one shot -- he used relatively small, but really fast loads for game, the Weatherby Magnums. His favorite was apparently the .257, even for large game, with a muzzle velocity of 3400-3800 fps depending on the weight of the bullet.

    The other part of the anecdotal evidence is that the same bullet, same shot, on the same game sometimes caused an instant drop, and sometimes didn't.

    One hypothesis: if the bullet hits at the peak of systolic blood pressure, it will cause this. Otherwise, it won't. This would make sense.
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    I've seen obvious tissue damage well away from rifle caliber wound channels and even around .357 magnum wounds in the proximity, that with the naked, untrained eye. I'm not surprised at all after reading much of the good Doctor Courtney's work. I've had too many bang, flops with rifles not to think that the pressure wave is important and the handgunned deer didin't exactly run 300 yards as if they were bow shot with a Muzzy tri blade and only crush cavity and bleed out mattered. :rolleyes:

    Bottom line, though, I am confident in my .38, let alone my 9x19 for carry. Hit 'em hard and hit 'em often until they stop, that's the motto. :D

    My criticism of the post, probably should say "supported" and not "confirmed" in the title.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  19. KBintheSLC

    KBintheSLC Well-Known Member

    I am not sure that a 9mm round out of a handgun is considered "high velocity" though. I wonder what the severity of the so-called hemorrhaging was from this round. Are we talking heavy, potentially fatal bleeding in the brain, or a trickle that requires an SEM imaging device to even see?

    I assume that it is theoretically possible for hemorrhaging to occur in parts of the body other than the direct area of the permanent/temporary wound cavity. Excessive spikes in blood pressure could occur when 350+ ft/lbs of energy are delivered to a relatively small portion of mass.
  20. Odd Job

    Odd Job Well-Known Member

    Well at least Dr Courtney is looking at human cases, he must be encouraged to do so, it is a step in the right direction. I'm sure the researchers will be able to exclude the effects of alcohol or drugs by looking at a similar sample of stab victims with the same criteria as the 33 gunshot cases...and not finding any micro bleeds. Right?
    That's what I would do.

    I'm sure it was important, seeing as though it was the OP who made the relevant entries in the cited Wiki article ;)

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