Cyanosis: What are the Treatment Options?

Cyanosis is the term for bluish, sometimes greyish, discoloration of the skin. The affected parts may also include nail beds, lips, or around the eyes. This blue cast is a symptom of the inadequate oxygenation of the part concerned, and it can occur due to a variety of underlying reasons. The increased concentration of reduced Haemoglobin (5.0g/dL or above) is the reason toes and nail beds take on a blue hue and it calls forth the diagnosis of a number of diseases/ conditions.

Cyanosis may be Peripheral, Central, or even Pseudo Cyanosis. Prompt detection and correction of the underlying causes will help restore oxygenation to the part concerned. Thus, it is imperative to seek out the reasons for cyanosis and proceed forth to proper treatment.

Some of the standard forms of cyanosis treatment as described hereby:

1. Warming of the affected areas

Cause: Peripheral Cyanosis due to cold or tightening of clothes or Raynaud’s Phenomenon; Acrocyanosis.

If you are experiencing cyanosis of your extremities due to the above reasons, start to gently rub about the fingers or toes. The friction between skin or clothes helps warm up the parts and restore blood circulation.

2. Surgery

Cause: Central Cyanosis due to heart defects.

In the event of being afflicted with a heart defect, it is wise for you to get a surgery done as and when suggested by the doctors. An example would be the Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), which requires corrective surgery right after birth. The open-heart surgery required in this case defects the heart valves which is what had led to cyanosis, a sign rather than the problem itself. For symptoms that are somewhat less severe, surgery can wait till the age of three to six months.

3. Oxygenation

Cause: Any kind, presenting an emergency situation

Before you are put through the specialized corrective measures, doctors will require to establish initial stabilization. The physician checks the windpipe before proceeding to oxygenation done via a breathing machine or a ventilator. An endotracheal tube may also be used on you if further difficulty is faced during clearing the airway.

4. Intravenous fluid

Cause: Underlying cyanotic heart disease.

Children may end up having trouble feeding due to cyanosis. Often a heart disease is at the root of this. Intravenous fluids are required to be administered in such cases, in order to revive the infants.

5. Drugs

Cause: Heart Failure; Cyanotic Heart Disease.

If you happen to have any of the above issues, drugs will be administered to cope with and reduce the excess fluid accumulation. These drugs are known as Diuretics. Drugs are needed in people with the above diseases to help the heart pump harder, or to treat abnormal heartbeats or rhythms. Antibiotic drugs will help you fight infections and/ or pneumonia.

6. Treatment of Children with Cyanosis

A number of problems in infants and newborns give rise to cyanosis. Correct diagnosis of the problem at hand helps them recover fast.

  • Immunization

Cause: Congenital Heart Disease

Regular immunizations help prevent infections in children with congenital heart defects, some others may require a permanent pacemaker.

  • Injections

Cause: Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) at birth; babies with Tricuspid Atresia; Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC); Patent Ductus Arteriosus.

In a child with TGA, the Ductus Arteriosus remains open after birth. TGA causes the mixing of blood, such that the right side of the heart contains deoxygenated blood and the left contains the oxygenated blood. This then leads to cyanosis as the venous blood is carried to the extremities. For such children, prostaglandin is injected shortly after birth. Surgery is performed once the child is stable.

Babies with Tricuspid Atresia are initially injected with prostaglandin, before resorting to surgery, whereas it is the primary recommendation for babies born with TAPVC.

Ibuprofen or Indomethacin can help in closure of the ducts for children born with Patent Ductus Arteriosus; if this fails, surgery is performed to do the same.

7. Glucose Administration

Cause: Low Blood Sugar

Often other causes like a low level of blood sugar in your body might give rise to cyanosis. This is corrected with the help of Glucose Infusions and Glucose Administration.

One is advised to know the signs of Cyanosis and take measures accordingly. Cyanosis from cold can be tackled by self but some of the more serious reasons should be checked immediately. Cyanosis, coupled with breathing troubles, chest pain, or fever, calls for an immediate check-up by medical professionals.

It is necessary to look for other signs like trouble breathing or a grunting sound or trouble in feeding if your child shows blue discoloration. This calls for medical attention. Prompt attention should help you overcome any medical emergency.

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Reed Hamilton

Mason Reed Hamilton: Mason, a political analyst, provides insights on U.S. politics, election coverage, and policy analysis.