Study: Jiu-jitsu maneuver may reduce blood loss for trauma victims

Dr. Nathan White said he noticed while training in jiu-jitsu that pressure applied to his abdomen during a “knee mount” might decrease blood flow to his legs

By News Staff

SEATTLE — A recent study suggests that a martial arts maneuver may help reduce blood loss in trauma victims.

According to a press release from the University of Washington School of Medicine, Emergency Medicine Associate Professor Dr. Nathan White conducted the study after noticing the pressure to his abdomen during a jiu-jitsu “knee mount” maneuver might decrease blood flow to his legs.

“This mirrors the effect of devices we’re using to rescue trauma patients who are bleeding badly from the pelvis or legs,” White said.

White recruited two undergraduate students to learn the maneuver and apply it to 11 adults, and used ultrasound technology to measure the average arterial blood flow velocity before and after compression.


Each vascular compression point, including the shoulder, groin and abdomen, showed significantly decreased blood floor velocity from the baseline measure.

“With slight modifications to the jiu-jitsu maneuver, this technique achieved an average 70 percent reduction of blood flow across the three locations, which we think is significant,” White said.

White, who is also an emergency medicine physician at Harborview Medical Center, said the move can be used in incidents where civilians do not have a tourniquet to help save someone.

“It’s great that people want to know how to save lives,” White said, “but the problem is that most people don’t carry tourniquets with them. Why not just drop a knee onto a vascular pressure point to slow or stop the bleeding?”

He added that the move can be a quick tactic to administer immediate aid “while the tourniquet is being accessed and you’re assessing the wound. That way, you don’t lose time and the intervention begins right away to decrease blood loss.”

White said “Drop the Knee” could possibly complement “Stop the Bleed” if further research validates his findings.

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