Cyanotic heart defects are abnormal openings between the heart chambers that allow oxygen-poor blood from the right side of the heart to mix with oxygen-rich blood from the left side of the heart. When a large amount of oxygen-poor blood mixes with oxygen-rich blood, it causes a bluish tint (cyanosis) in the skin, lips, and nail beds.
Last Revised: October 11, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Larry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology
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