Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Cyanosis Overview

What is cyanosis?
A person with cyanosis has blue skin, lips or nail beds caused by a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. Causes for cyanosis include severe lung disease, respiratory distress, and respiratory failure. Acrocyanosis refers to a decrease in oxygen delivered to the extremities. This is manifest by a bluish discoloration to the tips of the fingers and toes.

What are the symptoms of cyanosis?
The most common symptoms of cyanosis are confusion, sleepiness, and breathing difficulty.

How does the doctor treat cyanosis?
The treatment of cyanosis requires the rapid administration of supplemental oxygen.

Last Updated: Apr 18, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Cyanosis References
  1. Grifka RG. Cyanotic congenital heart disease with increased pulmonary blood flow. Pediatr Clin North Am. 1999 Apr;46(2):405-25. [10218083]
  2. Zoorob RJ, Campbell JS. Acute dyspnea in the office. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Nov 1;68(9):1803-10. [14620600]
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