Capillary nail refill test; Capillary refill time; CRT
This quick test is performed on the nail beds o monitor tissue perfusion (the amount of blood flow to tissue) and dehydration.
How the test is performed
Pressure is applied to the nail bed until it turns white, indicating that the blood has been forced from the tissue (blanched). Once the tissue has blanched, pressure is removed.
The health care provider will measure the time it takes for blood to return to the tissue, indicated by a pink color returning to the nail.
How to prepare for the test
No preparation is necessary for the test.
How the test will feel
There will be minor pressure to the bed of your nail but it should not cause discomfort.
Why the test is performed
Oxygen, which is critical to the survival of tissue, is carried to various parts of the body by the blood (vascular) system. This test measures how well the vascular system is functioning in your extremities. If you are dehydrated, or tissue perfusion is blocked by other means, this quick test can alert you or your health care provider that care needs to be taken to restore normal vascular flow.
If there is good perfusion to the nail bed, a pink color should return in less than 2 seconds after blanching.
What abnormal results mean
Blanch times that are greater than 2 seconds may indicate:
- peripheral vascular disease (PVD)
What the risks are
No risks are associated with this test.
by Armen E. Martirosyan, M.D.
All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.