Acrocyanosis (1650)

Key points below

(Blue hands and feet)

What is acrocyanosis?

When a person is cold, the body sends the most blood to the middle of the body to keep main organs like the heart and the lungs warm.  A normal pink color returns when the arms and legs are warm.  Acrocyanosis is when the hands, feet, or face look blue.  It is not harmful. This is different from the blue caused by a heart problem.


What causes it?

The flow of blood to the skin slows down due to cold temperatures.

Acrocyanosis is often seen:

What tests will be done?

A physical exam will be done. Your child’s oxygen level may be checked using a pulse ox. The pulse ox is a quick and easy test. A small red light strip like a BAND-AID® is put on your child’s finger or toe. It measures how much oxygen is in your child’s blood. 

How is it treated?

Acrocyanosis does not need to be treated. It often goes away on its own as children get older. To prevent it, keep your child warm, especially after a bath.


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.