Bloodstain Pattern Analysis Terminology

Note: At the 2009 IABPA meeting in Portland, OR, USA, the IABPA membership voted to adopt the SWGSTAIN recommended terminology.


Swipe Pattern
The transfer of blood from a moving source onto a unstained surface. Direction of travel may be determined by the feathered edge.
Bloodstain Example - Swipe Pattern
Bloodstain Example - Swipe Pattern


This pattern was generated by placing blood on the four fingers of the right hand and dragging them across the stationary target.

When a wet bloodied object comes in contact with a non-bloodied surface, some blood will be transferred from the object to the surface. In this example the direction of travel may be determined by examining the feathering present at the end of each finger swipe. The directionality of the action is down and to the right.

Alternate Terminology

Bevel & GardnerNon-spatter Family - Irregular Margin - Smear - Swipe
James, Kish & SuttonPassive - Contact/Transfer - Swipe
WonderSpatters Not a Criteria - Transfers - Moving - Swipe
SWGSTAINSwipe Pattern - A bloodstain pattern resulting from the transfer of blood from a blood-bearing surface onto another surface, with characteristics that indicate relative motion between the two surfaces.