Cyanosis overview

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Cyanosis Microchapters

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Overview

Historical Perspective

Classification

Pathophysiology

Causes

Differentiating Cyanosis from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors

Screening

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis

Diagnosis

Diagnostic Study of Choice

History and Symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief:

Overview

Historical Perspective

Classification

Pathophysiology

Cyanosis is a bluish or purplish discoloration of skin and mucous membranes. Two mechanisms involved in the development of cyanosis, Systemic arterial oxygen desaturation and increased oxygen absorption by tissues. Cyanosis is evident when arterial oxygen desaturation falls below 85% or the concentration of deoxygenated hemoglobin (Hb) is below 5 gm/dl. Several factors can affect the appearance of cyanosis includes skin pigmentation, Hemoglobin (Hb) levels, oxygen affinity to the hemoglobin (Hb).

Causes

Cyanosis is commonly caused by respiratory disorders that inhibits oxygen from reaching the alveoli or interrupts its movement across the alveolar interface. It is also seen in a wide variety of cardiac and vascular disorders by mixing oxygenated blood with deoxygenated blood (eg, vascular shunts or intracardiac shunts), structural or vascular alteration in pulmonary blood flow, peripheral vascular diseases, and cardiac decompensation with pulmonary edema or shock.

Differentiating Cyanosis from Other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors

Common risk factors in the development of cyanosis include congenital heart diseases with right to left shunting, presence of abnormal hemoglobin, carbon monoxide poisoning, respiratory disorders associated with impaired gas exchange, impaired gas diffusion via the alveoli, embolism, pulmonary arteriovenous malformations, cold exposure, and raynaud's phenomenon.

Screening

Natural History, Complications, and Prognosis

Diagnosis

Diagnostic Study of Choice

History and Symptoms

The hallmark of cyanosis is blue discoration of skin and mucous membranes. Obtaining the history is most important aspect because of its association with wide variety of disorders (cardiac, pulmonary, vascular, neurologic and neuromuscular disorders). History taking also provide clues to specific cause, precipitating factors and associated comorbid conditions.

Physical Examination

Patients with cyanosis show bluish discolration of skin and mucous membranes. Common locations to look for cyanosis include tongue, buccal mucosa, lips, hands and feet.

Laboratory Findings

Electrocardiogram

X-ray

Echocardiography and Ultrasound

CT scan

MRI

Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies

Treatment

Medical Therapy

Surgery

Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

References


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