Monday, December 22, 2014

Capillary refill - a basic exam often ignored

Capillary refill is defined as the time taken for color to return to an external capillary bed after pressure is applied to cause blanching. Ideally it should be measured by holding a hand higher than heart-level, pressing the soft pad of a finger until it turns white. Its the time needed for the color to return once pressure is released. Normal capillary refill time is usually less than 2 seconds but in clinically sick patients up to 5 seconds is acceptable. A prolonged capillary refill time is a sign of shock. Capillary refill should be read with other clinical signs.

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