Splinter hemorrhages are small areas of bleeding (hemorrhage) under the fingernails or toenails.
Splinter hemorrhages appear as narrow, red to reddish-brown lines of blood beneath the nails. They run in the direction of nail growth and are named splinter hemorrhages because they look like a splinter beneath the fingernail. The hemorrhages may be caused by tiny clots that damage the small capillaries under the nails.
Splinter hemorrhages are associated with infection of the heart valves (endocarditis) and may be caused by vessel damage from swelling of the blood vessels (vasculitis) or tiny clots that damage the small capillaries (microemboli).
There is no specific care for splinter hemorrhages. Follow your health care provider's instructions for treating endocarditis.
Contact your health care provider if:
Note: Splinter hemorrhages usually appear late in endocarditis. Likely other symptoms will cause you to visit your health care provider before splinter hemorrhages appear.
Your doctor will examine you to determine the cause of the splinter hemorrhages. Your doctor may ask you the following medical history questions:
Physical examination may include special attention to the heart and blood circulation systems.
Laboratory studies may include:
In addition, your health care provider may order:
After seeing your health care provider:
You may want to add a diagnosis related to splinter hemorrhages to your personal medical record.