Definitions for capillary refill

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  1. capillary refill(Noun)

    The refilling of empty capillaries by blood

  2. capillary refill(Noun)

    An assessment of the rate of refilling of blood capillaries after having applied pressure; used as a diagnostic procedure

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  1. Capillary refill

    Capillary refill is the rate at which blood refills empty capillaries. It can be measured by holding a hand higher than heart-level, pressing the soft pad of a finger or toe until it turns white, and taking note of the time needed for the color to return once pressure is released. Normal refill time is less than 2 seconds. In newborn infants, capillary refill can be measured by pressing on the sternum for five seconds with a finger or thumb, and noting the time needed for the colour to return once the pressure is released. The upper normal limit for capillary refill in newborns is 3 seconds. The capillary refill time is a common indication of dehydration and decreased peripheral perfusion. It is generally accepted that the test can be highly variable between different patients, and therefore should not be relied upon as a universal diagnostic measure. It is however very useful as supporting evidence for a positive sign of poor perfusion to the extremities. The CRT test is often referred to as the Nail blanch test. A CRT can also be assessed in animals by pressing on their gums as opposed to the sternum which is generally covered with fur or inaccessible.


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