capillary refill time

Quick Reference

A quickly performed test to assess the adequacy of circulation in an individual with poor cardiac output. An area of skin is pressed firmly by (say) a fingertip until it loses its colour; the number of seconds for the area to return to its original colour indicates capillary refill time. Normal capillary refill takes around 2 seconds. Slow capillary refill may occur globally in an individual with poor circulation or in a small area (e.g. a toe) in which local circulation is compromised (due, for example, to peripheral vascular disease). This test may not be very useful in people with dark skin.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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