what is cyanosis

Cyanosis is defined as the bluish or purplish discolouration of the skin or mucous membranes due to the tissues near the skin surface having low oxygen saturation. Based on Lundsgaard and Van Slyke’s work, it is classically described as occurring if 5.0 g/dL of deoxyhemoglobin or greater is present.

This was based on an estimate of capillary saturation based on a mean of arterial versus peripheral venous blood gas measurements.

Since estimation of hypoxia is usually now based either on arterial blood gas measurement or pulse oximetry, this is probably an overestimate, with evidence that levels of 2.0 g/dL of deoxyhemoglobin may reliably produce cyanosis