What is cyanosis?

Also known as: blue lips, mouth, skin, and nail beds, skin discoloration.

A bluish tinge of the lips, tongue, nail beds or skin is called cyanosis. There are 2 types: Central cyanosis and Acrocyanosis. Central cyanosis occurs because of a lack of oxygen in the red cells of blood and is never normal. Acrocyanosis is usually normal in babies and occurs when the extremities (hands and feet are cold), appear blue but not the lips, or tongue which normally appear pink in color.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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