Fatal Kisses: Can A Simple Hickey Lead To Life-Threatening Condition Like Stroke?

July 27, 2018 17:40

We manifest our passion or strong sympathy in lots of different ways. However, for teenagers, applying a hickey is probably the most common one. Almost every person has received at least one hickey in their lives. And probably no one could think of them as something potentially harmful for health. However, it was reported a simple hickey caused a blood clot which led to a fatal stroke in a teen from Mexico City. How is this even possible? Let’s sort things out.

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Are hickeys dangerous?

Reportedly, in August two years ago, 17-year-old Julio Macias Gonzales died after his girlfriend gave him a hickey, which led to a blood clot and then, a stroke. Apparently, this wasn’t the first case ever in the medical history: The New Zealand Medical Journal reported about a 44-year-old woman who had a minor-stroke due to a hickey in 2010.

First off, what is a hickey?

A hickey is basically a bruise over the skin or, in other words, a minor injury of the skin. According to experts, a typical hickey wouldn’t lead to a stroke. However, the minor trauma of the neck area certainly can. This means that a hickey could possibly lead to a stroke if it was performed in a very aggressive way on the carotid artery area of the neck.

Champion studio /

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Experts' opinion

Nonetheless, doctors are pretty sure that the chance of the clot formation in the artery because of a hickey is extremely low. Charles Abrams, president of the American Society of Hematology, says:

It has to be a real trauma in order to cause an arterial clot, probably much more significant than the trauma that it takes to form a clot in a vein.

Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, believes that the odds are very low, and parents shouldn’t worry about hickeys and strokes:

It’s possible this could happen, but it's very rare, and parents should be reassured it’s not something that happens in a routine way.

The specialist also adds:

Any sudden motion of the neck, including a vigorous cough, sneezing, or even aggressive manipulation by a chiropractor, could lead to a carotid artery dissection.

Teerawit Chankowet /

Judging from the two cases and the doctors’ opinions, we can conclude that it is actually possible to have health issues because of a 'bloody love bite'. But the chances are so little that there’s nothing to worry about.

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This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.