Home Discussion Forum If you get shot directly in the heart, how many seconds do...

If you get shot directly in the heart, how many seconds do you have before you lose consciousness?

In the movies, people get shot in the chest and collapse and die instantly.
But that doesn’t make sense, unless the person is hit in the brain or central nervous system. (When people have heart attacks, they don’t instantly die.)
So in reality, I want to know how many seconds the brain stays conscious after the heart fails due to gunshot.


  1. Blood has ceased to flow and is leaking profusely….that all happens in an instant. What body function is left is going to go into instant shock…all the veins and artieries are going to constrict and further restrict blood. While it may take a few seconds to actually be declared brain dead you would loose consciouness almost instantly.
    The only way to truly know this would to have someone hooked to an EKG (brain wave monitor) while they were being shot in the heart. Short of Hitler and his MDs I don’t know anyone who could/would do all that.
    Interesting question but doubtful you are going to get an exact science answer….

  2. About five to 20 seconds. A complete cardiac arrest – five seconds or a little bit more, it depends.

  3. how many seconds the brain stays concious after the heart fails “due to gun shot”.
    You asked specifically due to gun shot. The problem with that specificity is you havent defined the criteria adequately enough. I will “ASSUME” you are meaning how many seconds after the heart stops beating.
    Given that assumption, Blood flow obviously stops. The oxygen in the blood present in the brain will sustain it for a few seconds. At that time, the natural protective function of the brain is to shut down all outer cortex functions in an effort to maintain the core functions as long as possible in hopes circulation will be restored. This protective reflex causes the brain to “pass out”. When this happens, the body naturally falls down. This effect causes gravity to lessen its toll on the brain in hopes to allow flow to be restored. This ultimately allows the core functions of the medulla oblongata to last a bit longer. As the body becomes more and more starved for oxygen, it begins to “shunt” blood away from the peripheral extremities back to the core by a thing called vasoconstriction. This is a musclular thing to do and so long as there is enough oxygen present in the arteriols controlling the arteries they will constrict. This brings on that classic COLD and CLAMMY look you see in people with shock. As time goes on, organs begin to shut down beginning with your kidneys, You can survive without them for a little longer, then the Liver and pancrease shut down. (We only need them to eat), then as the body begins to loose its ability to constrict those vessels, they finally relax and that blood then pools back out to the periphery and the brain ultimately dies.
    This all happens in the time of approximately 6-10 minutes. No wonder why all EMS and Fire rescue services require a maximum of 6 minute response time!!!

    • now I know how long my dad took to die. he shot himself in the heart. miserable bastard. but a person can only deal with so much pain before you’ve had enough. he suffered a lot of back pain. kind of fitting for what a nasty person he was.

    • The brain can survive for 4 minutes without oxygen, then brain cells start dying. So if there is no heartbeat, the heart is not contracting, the blood is not circulating through the body, and there is no oxygen supply. Other tissues and organs can live longer without oxygen.

    • No actually you can survive without your heart beating first you will suffocate (when your blood needs new air) unless you are a trained navy seal which are trained to hold there breath from 3-5 min. After you suffocate your organs will start to fail one by one but your brain will still be active for about 7 min after you did

    • That is only Cardiac death you are reffering to. Clinical death is what doctors go by when they pronounce someone deceased, when the brain shuts down and resuscitation is useless.

  4. My son was shot in the heart out his lung he ran maybe four feet and fainted no response from him heart was pumping hard still had a pulse.it took 7 to 8 minutes he took his last breath he was pronounced dead on the scene im glad he didnt suffer but sad hes gone.

    • I know this is a very late reply to your comment (found this thread by accident and just read it) but I really want to wish you the best. I have personally lost quite some people (my father, almost two of my brothers and too many others) and from a certain point I know how it feels and that people sometimes just need a kind word. The pain never fades but we will eventually learn to live with it. Stay strong man!

  5. My 17 yr old son left me quickly this yr on April 21 st. He died by gun shot through the heart. He said I’m dying and he was gone. The coroner said he didn’t suffer but oh my the pain and suffering is mine.

    • My 36 year old son shot himself in the heart on 26 June 2018. We are in immense torment. It was only one month ago. His father found him. I’m here at this site to find out how much he suffered and how long it took him to die.


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