<clinical sign>

<dermatology> A small haemorrhage (up to about 1 cm in diameter) in the skin, mucous membrane or serosal surface, which may be caused by various factors, including blood disorders, vascular abnormalities and trauma.

Purpuric lesions may be associated with inflammation, in which case they present as papular purpura or the haemorrhage may not be accompanied by inflammation, in which case they are macular.

The term also comprises a group of haemorrhagic diseases characterised by the presence of purpuric lesions, ecchymoses and a tendency to bruise easily, which may be caused by decreased platelet counts, the presence of abnormal platelets, vascular defects or reactions to certain drugs.

(15 Dec 1997)