Acyanotic vs Cyanotic Heart Defects

Nurses General Nursing


Any tips on distinguishing the two? (To make it easier to learn).

Acyanotic = left to right shunt; cyanotic = right to left shunt. Thanks for any ideas!!!:kiss

zacarias, ASN, RN

1,338 Posts

Specializes in tele, stepdown/PCU, med/surg.

Hey there,

How I remember it is thinking in terms of anatomy. What happens in a right to left shunt (cyanotic)? Deoxygenated blood bypasses pulmonary circulation and goes right to the left side of the heart to be pumped into the systemic circulation. Since it never got oxygenated in the lungs, the person will get cyanosis. Does that make sense?



104 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds.

Thanks! Trying to think of innovative ways to make it easy to learn for the students.

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