Sports First Responder Level 3 (VTQ)

201 videos, 10 hours and 55 minutes

Course Content

Capillary Refill

Video 95 of 201
3 min 26 sec
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Understanding Capillary Refill: Importance and Procedure

What is Capillary Refill?

Capillary refill is a quick and simple technique used to assess blood circulation and perfusion in the body.

  • Definition: It involves squeezing blood from capillaries and observing how quickly they refill.
  • Key Areas: Capillary refill is commonly checked at the fingertips, toes, forehead, and chest.

Procedure and Interpretation

The capillary refill test provides valuable information about blood pressure and perfusion status, aiding in the assessment of shock and circulation issues.

  • Technique: Apply pressure over the nail bed, release, and observe the time it takes for the capillaries to refill.
  • Normal Refill Time: Ideally, capillaries should refill within two seconds, indicating adequate blood flow.

Considerations for Capillary Refill

Several factors may affect the accuracy of capillary refill readings, requiring careful consideration during assessment.

  • Temperature: Cold hands and feet may alter capillary refill times, necessitating interpretation with caution.
  • Lighting: Adequate lighting is essential for accurate observation of capillary refill, particularly in dark conditions.

Applications of Capillary Refill

Capillary refill is not only indicative of blood pressure but also provides insights into circulation and potential obstructions.

  • Assessing Limb Conditions: Capillary refill aids in evaluating blood flow past injuries, fractures, or bandages.
  • Use in Paediatrics: While challenging in small digits, capillary refill on the forehead or chest is effective in assessing perfusion in children.


Capillary refill is a valuable clinical tool for assessing perfusion and circulation, offering insights into cardiovascular health and potential obstructions.

Learning Outcomes:
  • IPOSi Unit three LO3.1, 3.2, 3.3 & 3.4