Elucidating the Biophysical Processes Responsible for the Chromatic Attributes of Peripheral Cyanosis

Gladimir Valerio Guimaraes Baranos1, Spencer Richard Van Leeuwen1, Tenn Francis Chen

  • 1University of Waterloo



Contributed Papers (Oral)


4. Computational Systems & Synthetic Biology; Multiscale Modeling


08:00 - 09:30 | Wed 12 Jul | Schmitt Room | WeAT10

Models for Clinical Decision Support


The purple or blue coloration of hands and feet, known as peripheral cyanosis, can represent one of the initial signs of potentially life threatening medical conditions. Consequently, procedures aimed at its early detection and interpretation can help health-care professionals to select the appropriate treatment for these conditions. The effectiveness of such procedures, in turn, depends on the correct assessment of the biophysical processes responsible for eliciting this abnormal skin appearance. However, despite the diverse body of existing clinical research involving cyanosis, the interplay between physiological changes and the optical phenomena leading to cyanotic responses remains not fully understood. In this paper, we methodically examine this interplay through controlled in silico experiments. Among other relevant aspects, the results of our experiments demonstrate that Rayleigh scattering, a light attenuation phenomenon overlooked by previous studies on peripheral cyanosis, plays a pivotal role in the manifestation of cyanotic chromatic attributes. We believe that the insights derived from our experiments can contribute to the development of more effective protocols for the screening of medical conditions associated with peripheral cyanosis etiology.

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