Beau's lines

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Beau's lines
ICD-10 L60.4
ICD-9 703.8
DiseasesDB 30839

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Beau's lines are deep grooved lines that run from side to side on the fingernail. They may look like indentations or ridges in the nail plate that could be a sign of stress. Beau's lines are the result of a temporary cessation of cell division in the nail matrix, and they are associated with many serious conditions.

Historical Perspective

This condition of the nail was named by a French physician, Joseph Honoré Simon Beau (1806–1865), who first described it in 1846.


Causes by Organ System

Cardiovascular Coronary occlusion, Shock
Chemical / poisoning No underlying causes
Dermatologic Dermatologic disorders
Drug Side Effect Multiple underlying causes, most notably chemotherapy
Ear Nose Throat No underlying causes
Endocrine Diabetes
Environmental No underlying causes
Gastroenterologic No underlying causes
Genetic No underlying causes
Hematologic No underlying causes
Iatrogenic No underlying causes
Infectious Disease Severe infectious disease
Musculoskeletal / Ortho No underlying causes
Neurologic Delirium, Depression
Nutritional / Metabolic Malnutrition
Obstetric/Gynecologic No underlying causes
Oncologic Chemotherapy
Opthalmologic No underlying causes
Overdose / Toxicity Chemotherapy, Toxins
Psychiatric Delirium, Depression
Pulmonary No underlying causes
Renal / Electrolyte Hypocalcemia
Rheum / Immune / Allergy Reiter's disease, Gout
Sexual No underlying causes
Trauma Trauma in general and to the nail in particular
Urologic No underlying causes
Miscellaneous Deep sea diving, Surgery

Causes in Alphabetical Order


Physical Examination

Beau's lines should be distinguished from Muehrcke's lines of the fingernails. While Beau's lines are actual ridges and indentations in the nail plate, Muehrcke's lines are areas of hypopigmentation without palpable ridges.


A researcher found Beau's lines in the fingernails of 6 divers following a deep saturation dive to a pressure equal to 335 meters of sea water, and in 2 of 6 divers following a similar dive to 305 meters.[1]


  1. Schwartz H., "Clinical observation: Beau's lines on fingernails after deep saturation dives", Journal of Undersea Hyperbaric Medicine (2006) Vol 3 No 1. pp 5-10.

External links

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