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Nail blanch test
Nail blanch test


Capillary nail refill test

Definition:

The capillary nail refill test is a quick test done on the nail beds. It is used to monitor dehydration and the amount of blood flow to tissue.



Alternative Names:

Nail blanch test; Capillary refill time



How the test is performed:

Pressure is applied to the nail bed until it turns white. This indicates that the blood has been forced from the tissue. It is called blanching. Once the tissue has blanched, pressure is removed.

While the patient holds their hand above their heart, the health care provider measures the time it takes for blood to return to the tissue. Return of blood is indicated by the nail turning back to a pink color.



How to prepare for the test:

Remove colored nail polish before this test.



How the test will feel:

There will be minor pressure to the bed of your nail. This should not cause discomfort.



Why the test is performed:

Tissues need oxygen to survive. Oxygen is carried to various parts of the body by the blood (vascular) system.

This test measures how well the vascular system works in your hands and feet -- the parts of your body that are farthest from the heart.



Normal Values:

If there is good blood flow to the nail bed, a pink color should return in less than 2 seconds after pressure is removed.



What abnormal results mean:

Blanch times that are greater than 2 seconds may indicate:



References:

White CJ. Atherosclerotic peripheral arterial diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 79.




Review Date: 4/24/2013
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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