CRT Means What?

My electrical engineering background (not to mention my time as a patent examiner) came back to haunt me in class tonight. We had a pop quiz on acronyms. I had looked over the list of acronyms earlier in the day so they should have been fresh in my mind. However, as soon as I reached the letters “CRT” I had to think twice. My first instinct was Cathode Ray Tube. (I am guessing some fellow engineers and geeks will have the same reaction.)

So now I had to switch gears and go from engineering to medical. I did finally come up with the correct answer – Capillary Refill Time. Now for a little lesson: CRT is the time it takes for color to return to the nail after you press down on the nail tip and should be less than two seconds. (You can also test CRT on the palm of the hand or the bottom of the foot.) This is a generally accepted method of assessing peripheral perfusion and, indirectly, cardiac output. However, the time can be greater than two seconds for women, the elderly, and someone in a cold environment.

In other news, I made an A on my first test and a 100 on the pop quiz. Yeah! I never did that well when I was at Tech (we won’t compare Georgia Tech to a technical school right now).

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