What is Capillary Refill?

Capillary Refill is also known as Capillary Refill Time, or CRT. Capillary refill time is a method used to assess blood flow through the peripheral tissues.  It is measured by the time it takes for the color to return to the external capillary bed after pressure has been applied. Pressure can be applied to the capillary bed by pressing the end of the finger using the thumb and forefinger.  A normal average range for the color to return is two seconds or less.  If the color returns to normal in two or less seconds, then blood flow is good.  If the color takes longer than two seconds to return to normal, it can indicate that something is wrong and can help alert you that something is off.

Medical professionals look at a variety of possible medical concerns for having poor capillary refill. Having poor capillary refill could be a result of dehydration, shock, or hypothermia.  Some clinics will regularly use capillary refill to assess if an individual is well. It’s a simple test that can be done at home by anyone and can help you determine if there may be a health concern to make a doctor visit for.  If you feel that you might be suffering from dehydration, you can apply pressure to your own finger and time the capillary refill.  If it takes longer than two seconds for the capillary to fill, you could be suffering from dehydration.

Child first aid classes discuss capillary refill because it’s something that can easily be used with children and can be a good indicator for health. Many children don’t know how to verbally express that something may be wrong so a simple method like capillary refill times can help parents better understand what their children cannot express.  Child first aid certificates are also available online to give parents and professionals the flexibility of learning when it’s convenient for them. If you work in the health or wellness field, having child CPR and first aid certification will cover everything you need to know about capillary refill and how you can access the health of an individual using that method.  CPR first aid recertification online courses are designed as a refresher course for those who have already gone through the training and are currently certified but have an expiration date coming up on their license.  CPR first aid renewal courses can help you make sure that your certification never expires and that you will always have the newest training and skills that have been re-enforced through training.

Individuals that work with children such as daycare workers or preschool teachers could use capillary refill during the summer months to determine if a child is suffering from dehydration.  Capillary refill time can be used as a preventative health measure. Caretakers caring for seniors could use this same method to make sure their loved ones are healthy and well hydrated. CPR and first aid course work can help save lives and keep our communities healthy.  Make a positive difference in your community and register for CPR and first aid training classes online today!


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