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a hemorrhagic disease characterized by extravasation of blood into the tissues, under the skin, and through the mucous membranes, and producing spontaneous bruises, ecchymoses, and petechiae (small hemorrhagic spots) on the skin. (See plate in Dermatology Atlas.) When accompanied by a decrease in the circulating platelets, it is called thrombocytopenic purpura; when there is no decrease in the platelet count, it is called nonthrombocytopenic purpura. adj., adj purpu´ric.

There are two general types of thrombocytopenic purpura: primary or idiopathic, in which the cause is unknown, and secondary or symptomatic, which may be associated with exposure to drugs or other chemical agents, systemic diseases such as multiple myeloma and leukemia, diseases affecting the bone marrow or spleen, and infectious diseases such as rubella (German measles).
Symptoms. The outward manifestations and laboratory findings of primary and secondary thrombocytopenic purpura are similar. There is evidence of bleeding under the skin, with easy bruising and the development of petechiae. In the acute form there may be bleeding from any of the body orifices, such as hematuria, nosebleed, vaginal bleeding, and bleeding gums. The platelet count is below 100,000 per cubic millimeter of blood and may go as low as 10,000 per cubic millimeter (normal count is about 250,000 per cubic millimeter). The bleeding time is prolonged and clot retraction is poor. Coagulation time is normal.
Treatment. Differential diagnosis is necessary to determine the type of purpura present and to eliminate the cause if it can be determined. General measures include protection of the patient from trauma, elective surgery, and tooth extractions, any one of which may lead to severe or even fatal hemorrhage. In the thrombocytopenic form, corticosteroids may be administered when the purpura is moderately severe and of short duration. Splenectomy is indicated when other, more conservative measures fail and is successful in a majority of cases. In some instances, especially in children, there may be spontaneous and permanent recovery from idiopathic purpura. (See Atlas 2, Part Q.)
allergic purpura (anaphylactoid purpura) Henoch-Schönlein purpura.
annular telangiectatic purpura a rare form in which pinpoint reddened lesions coalesce to form a ring-shaped or continuously linked pattern, commonly beginning in the lower extremities and becoming generalized. Called also Majocchi's disease.
fibrinolytic purpura purpura associated with increased fibrinolytic activity of the blood.
purpura ful´minans a form of nonthrombocytopenic purpura seen mainly in children, usually after an infectious disease, marked by fever, shock, anemia, and sudden, rapidly spreading symmetrical skin hemorrhages of the lower limbs, often associated with extensive intravascular thromboses and gangrene.
purpura hemorrha´gica primary thrombocytopenic purpura.
Henoch's purpura a type of Henoch-Schönlein purpura in which abdominal symptoms predominate.
Henoch-Schönlein purpura a type of nonthrombocytopenic purpura, of unknown cause but thought to be due to a vasculitis; it is most often seen in children and is associated with clinical symptoms such as urticaria and erythema, arthritis and other joint diseases, gastrointestinal symptoms, and renal involvement. Called also Schönlein-Henoch purpura or syndrome and allergic or anaphylactoid purpura.
idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura thrombocytopenic purpura not directly associated with any definable systemic disease, although it often follows a systemic infection; the cause is thought to be an IgG immunoglobulin that acts as an antibody against platelets, causing ecchymoses, petechiae, and other bleeding. There are both acute and chronic forms: the acute form has a sudden onset, is more common in children, and usually resolves spontaneously within a few months; the chronic form has a slower onset, is more common in adults, and may be recurrent.
nonthrombocytopenic purpura purpura without any decrease in the platelet count of the blood. In such cases the cause is either abnormal capillary fragility or a clotting factor deficiency.
Schönlein purpura a type of Henoch-Schönlein purpura in which articular systems predominate; called also Schönlein's disease.
Schönlein-Henoch purpura Henoch-Schönlein purpura.
purpura seni´lis dark purplish red ecchymoses occurring on the forearms and backs of the hands in the elderly.
thrombocytopenic purpura purpura associated with a decrease in the number of platelets in the blood; see purpura.
thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura a form of thrombotic microangiopathy characterized by thrombocytopenia, hemolytic anemia, bizarre neurological manifestations, uremia (azotemia), fever, and thromboses in terminal arterioles and capillaries; some authorities consider it identical to the hemolytic uremic syndrome. Called also microangiopathic hemolytic anemia and Moschcowitz's disease.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


A condition characterized by hemorrhage into the skin. Appearance of the lesions varies with the type of purpura, the duration of the lesions, and the acuteness of the onset. The color is first red, gradually darkens to purple, fades to a brownish yellow, and usually disappears in 2-3 weeks; color of residual permanent pigmentation depends largely on the type of unabsorbed pigment of the extravasated blood; extravasations may also occur in the mucous membranes and internal organs.
Synonym(s): peliosis
[L. fr. G. porphyra, purple]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


A condition characterized by hemorrhage into the skin. Appearance of the lesions varies with the type of purpura, the duration of the lesions, and the acuteness of onset. The color is first red, gradually darkens to purple, fades to a brownish yellow, and usually disappears in 2-3 weeks; color of residual permanent pigmentation depends largely on the type of unabsorbed pigment of the extravasated blood; extravasations may occur also into the mucous membranes and internal organs.
Synonym(s): peliosis.
[L. fr. G. porphyra, purple]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Peliosis is a pathological condition characterised by the gross appearance of multiple cyst-like, blood-filled cavities within solid organs.
* Liver involvement is characterized by microscopic blood-filled cysts and is termed bacillary peliosis. Bacillary peliosis may also involve the spleen and lymph nodes.
(11) Parinaud's (oculoglandular) syndrome, encephalitis, hepatitis, osteomyelitis, and endocarditis have been observed in immunocompetent patients, and bacillary angiomatosis, bacillary peliosis, and relapsing bacteremia with fever syndrome have been seen in immunocompromised patients.
For patients with more severe disease, other antibiotic regimens have been successful, including azithromycin or doxycycline in combination with rifampin or rifampin alone (7); doxycycline or erythromycin are considered the drugs of choice for bacilliary angiomatosis and peliosis (8).
The American College of Sports Medicine believes that the most serious of these disorders are peliosis hepatis (the formation of blood-filled cysts) and liver tumors.
Generic drug names, eponyms, and common medical abbreviations were handled well by Dorland's: Bjork-Shiley, bacille Calmette-Guerin, Creutzfeldt-Jacob, Guillain-Barre, Mollaret's, peliosis hepatis, ABO, COPD, CSF, QRS, all pass through Dorland's (but not WP's) speller.
Secondary cysts can be inflammatory (Pyogenic abscess, echinococcal cyst, fungal abscess), vascular (Infarction, peliosis), posttraumatic (Haematoma, false cyst) or neoplastic (Haemangioma, Lymphangioma, Lymphoma or Metastasis).
Bacillary peliosis is another manifestation of Bartonella henselae infection in immunocompromised patients, typically those with AIDS [6].
Oral contraceptives can also produce another type of vascular lesion called peliosis hepatitis, in which weakening of sinusoidal membranes leads to the development of blood-filled sacs within the hepatic parenchyma [117,118].
henselae infection include Parinaud oculogiandular syndrome, relapsing bacteremia, and endocarditis and bacillary peliosis (2).
(8) Similar to multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) syndrome, patients with VHL disease can be associated with precursor lesions including ductuloinsular complexes (nesidioblastosis), islet dysplasia (referring to normal-sized or slightly enlarged islets <0.5 mm that contain neuroendocrine cells showing loss of the normal spatial and quantitative arrangement of the normal [alpha], [beta], [delta], and PP cell types), pancreatic micro-adenomatosis (when islet dysplasia is between 0.5-5 mm, it is termed microadenoma-, multiple microadenomas are termed microadenomatosis), and peliosis of the nontumorous islets (17) (Figure 2, A and B).
Cardiovascular Cardiomyopathy Acute myocardial infarct Cerebral vascular accident Pulmonary embolism Liver Cholestatic jaundice Peliosis hepatis Tumors Psychological Aggression increased Dysphoria--rage Psychosis Addiction Withdrawal effects--depression Needle sharing Hepatitis HIV infection