St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Purpura

    Blood spots; Skin hemorrhages

    Purpura is purple-colored spots and patches that occur on the skin, and in mucus membranes, including the lining of the mouth.

    Considerations

    Purpura occurs when small blood vessels leak blood under the skin.

    When purpura spots are less than 3 millimeters in diameter, they are called petechiae. Purpura spots larger than 1 centimeter are called ecchymoses.

    Platelets help the blood clot. A person with purpura may have normal platelet counts (nonthrombocytopenic purpuras) or low platelet counts (thrombocytopenic purpuras).

    Causes

    Nonthrombocytopenic purpuras may be due to:

    • Amyloidosis
    • Blood clotting disorders
    • Congenital cytomegalovirus
    • Congenital rubella syndrome
    • Drugs that affect platelet function
    • Fragile blood vessels seen in older people (senile purpura)
    • Hemangioma
    • Inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis), such as Henoch-Schonlein purpura, which causes a raised type of purpura
    • Pressure changes that occur during vaginal childbirth
    • Scurvy
    • Steroid use

    Thrombocytopenic purpura may be due to:

    • Drugs that reduce the platelet count
    • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
    • Immune neonatal thrombocytopenia (can occur in infants whose mothers have ITP)
    • Meningococcemia -- a raised type of purpura

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your doctor for an appointment if you have signs of purpura.

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    Your doctor will examine your skin and ask about your medical history and symptoms, including:

    • Is this the first time you have had such spots?
    • When did they develop?
    • What color are they?
    • Do they look like bruises?
    • What medications do you take?
    • What other medical problems have you had?
    • Does anyone in your family have similar spots?
    • What other symptoms do you have?

    A skin biopsy may be done.

    References

    Korman NJ. Macular, papular, vesiculobullous, and pustular diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman’s Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 447.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Henoch-Schonlein purpura...

      illustration

    • Henoch-Schonlein purpura...

      illustration

    • Henoch-Schonlein purpura...

      illustration

    • Henoch-Schonlein purpura...

      illustration

    • Henoch-Schonlein purpura...

      illustration

    • Meningococcemia on the c...

      illustration

    • Meningococcemia on the l...

      illustration

    • Rocky mountain spotted f...

      illustration

    • Meningococcemia associat...

      illustration

      • Henoch-Schonlein purpura...

        illustration

      • Henoch-Schonlein purpura...

        illustration

      • Henoch-Schonlein purpura...

        illustration

      • Henoch-Schonlein purpura...

        illustration

      • Henoch-Schonlein purpura...

        illustration

      • Meningococcemia on the c...

        illustration

      • Meningococcemia on the l...

        illustration

      • Rocky mountain spotted f...

        illustration

      • Meningococcemia associat...

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Tests for Purpura

          Review Date: 4/24/2013

          Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
          adam.com

          A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


          Back  |  Top
          About Us
          Contact Us
          History
          Mission
          Locations & Directions
          Quality Reports
          Annual Reports
          Honors & Awards
          Community Health Needs
          Assessment

          Newsroom
          Services
          Brain & Spine
          Cancer
          Heart
          Maternity
          Orthopedics
          Pulmonary
          Sleep Medicine
          Urgent Care
          Women's Services
          All Services
          Patients & Visitors
          Locations & Directions
          Find a Physician
          Tour St. Luke's
          Patient & Visitor Information
          Contact Us
          Payment Options
          Financial Assistance
          Send a Card
          Mammogram Appointments
          Health Tools
          My Personal Health
          mystlukes
          Spirit of Women
          Health Information & Tools
          Clinical Trials
          Health Risk Assessments
          Employer Programs -
          Passport to Wellness

          Classes & Events
          Classes & Events
          Spirit of Women
          Donate & Volunteer
          Giving Opportunities
          Volunteer
          Physicians & Employees
          For Physicians
          Remote Access
          Medical Residency Information
          Pharmacy Residency Information
          Physician CPOE Training
          Careers
          Careers
          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
          Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile