The capillary nail refill test is a quick test performed on the nail beds to monitor dehydration and the amount of blood flow to tissue.
Nail blanch test; Capillary refill time
Pressure is applied to the nail bed until it turns white, indicating that the blood has been forced from the tissue. This 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, indicated by a pink color returning to the nail.
Remove colored nail polish before this test.
There will be minor pressure to the bed of your nail, which should not cause discomfort.
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.
If there is good blood flow to the nail bed, a pink color should return in less than 2 seconds after pressure is removed.
Blanch times that are greater than 2 seconds may indicate:
No risks are associated with this test.
Review Date: 5/7/2009
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 David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.