What is finger clubbing?

Finger clubbing is a thickening of the fingertips that gives them an abnormal rounded appearance. The exact cause of finger clubbing is not known, but it is a common symptom of respiratory disease, congenital heart disease, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Respiratory diseases associated with finger clubbing include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, cystic fibrosis (thick mucus in the throat and digestive tract), and bronchiectasis (destruction of the large airways). Congenital heart diseases (heart diseases present since birth) that lead to finger clubbing are typically cyanotic, meaning that they cause a person to appear blue due to reduced oxygen in the blood. Clubbing has been seen in pregnancy and acromegal (gigantism due to pituitary tumor).

Gastrointestinal disorders that can lead to clubbing of the fingers include celiac disease, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease, especially in severe cases, such as cirrhosis of the liver. Other diseases associated with finger clubbing include Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Graves’ disease (thyroid condition). Clubbing may be accompanied by cyanosis (blue coloration of the skin) and shortness of breath.

Finger clubbing can be associated with symptoms of a serious or life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, bluish coloration of the lips or fingernails, change in level of consciousness or alertness, and rapid heart rate.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for finger clubbing but mild symptoms recur or are persistent.


SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with finger clubbing?

Finger clubbing may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition and may also involve the respiratory, cardiovascular or gastrointestinal systems.

Respiratory system symptoms that may occur along with finger clubbing

Finger clubbing may accompany other symptoms that affect the respiratory system including:

<... Read more about finger clubbingsymptoms

CAUSES

What causes finger clubbing?

The exact cause of finger clubbing is not known, but it is a common symptom of respiratory disease, congenital heart disease, and gastrointestinal disorders.

Respiratory disease causes of finger clubbing

Finger clubbing may be caused by respiratory diseases including:

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

Popular Lungs, Breathing and Respiration Slide Shows

Personal Story Network

A place where patients, healthcare providers, caregivers, and innovators share their personal stories about healing, and hope within the healthcare system and beyond.