SignSymptom infobox
Name = Petechia

Caption = A minor petechia.
ICD10 = ICD10|R|23|3|r|20
ICD9 = ICD9|782.7
MeshID = D011693
A petechia (pronounced|pɨˈtiːkiə), plural petechiae (IPA|pɨˈtiːkɪiː) is a small (1-2mm) red or purple spot on the body, caused by a minor hemorrhage (broken capillary blood vessels) Kumar, Vinay; Abbas, Abul K.; Fausto, Nelson; & Mitchell, Richard N. (2007). "Robbins Basic Pathology" (8th ed.). Saunders Elsevier. p. 86 ISBN 978-1-4160-2973-1] .

The most common cause of petechiae is through physical trauma such as a hard bout of coughing, vomiting or crying which can result in facial petechiae, especially around the eyes. Petechiae in this instance are completely harmless and usually disappear within a few days. Petechiae may be a sign of thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts), in circumstances when platelet function is inhibited (e.g., as a side effect of medications or during certain infections), or in clotting factor deficiencies. They may also occur when excessive pressure is applied to tissue (e.g., when a tourniquet is applied to an extremity or with excessive coughing).

If unsure, petechiae should always be quickly investigated. They can be interpreted as vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, which requires immediate treatment to prevent permanent damage. Some malignancies can also cause petechiae to appear. Petechiae should be investigated by a skilled health care provider immediately to rule out the more dangerous conditions. Dermatologists can be the most helpful specialists in these conditions because they can more easily identify if the condition is petechiae or some similar looking but less worrisome rash.

The significance of petechiae in children depends on the clinical context in which they arise. Petechiae in children can occur with viral infections. In this instance, they do not necessarily signify a serious illness. However, they are a hallmark signal of some potentially serious illnesses, such as meningococcemia, leukemia, and certain causes of thrombocytopenia. Therefore, their presence should not be ignored.

Associated conditions

* Bolivian hemorrhagic fever
* Boutonneuse fever
* Cerebral malaria
* Congenital syphilis
* Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
* Dengue fever
* Duke's disease
* Ebola
* Endocarditis
* Erythroblastosis fetalis
* Gua Sha
* Henoch-Schönlein purpura
* Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura
* Leukemia
* Childhood protein-energy malnutrition such as Kwashiorkor or Marasmus
* Typhus [cite web |url= |title=Typhus |accessdate=2007-11-05 |author=Grayson MD, Charlotte |date=2006-09-26 |work=MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia |publisher=National Institutes of Health]
* Scarlet fever
* Schamberg's disease
* Kawasaki disease
* Kawasaki fever
* Rocky mountain spotted fever


Petechiae on the face and conjunctiva (eyes) are a sign of a death by asphyxiation. They are thought to result from an increase of pressure in the veins of the head and hypoxic damage to endothelial of blood vessels. [cite journal |last= Ely |first= Susan F. |coauthors= Charles S. Hirsch |title= Ashpyxial deaths and petechiae: a review |url= |format= PDF |journal= Journal of Forensic Science |volume= 45 |issue= 6 |date= 2000 |pages=1274–1277 |accessdate= 2007-09-22 ]

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External links

* [ Petechiae details, related conditions and causes]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • petechia — [pə tē′kē ə] n. pl. petechiae [pə tē′kēē΄] [ModL < It petecchia < L pittacium, label, plaster, patch < Gr pittakion, a writing tablet, slip, letter] a small hemorrhagic spot in the skin, mucous membrane, etc. petechial adj …   English World dictionary

  • Petechia — Petechiae Pe*tech i*[ae], n. pl.; sing. {Petechia}. [NL., fr. LL. peteccia; cf. F. p[ e]t[ e]chie, It. petecchia, Sp. petequia, Gr. ? a label, plaster.] (Med.) Small crimson, purple, or livid spots, like flea bites, due to extravasation of blood …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • petechia — noun /pɪˈtiːkɪə/ a small spot, especially on an organ, caused by bleeding underneath the skin , 1973: It is scurvy. All my authorities agree – weakness, diffused muscular pain, petechia, tender gums, ill breath – and M’Alister has no doubt of it …   Wiktionary

  • petechia — noun (plural petechiae) Etymology: New Latin, from Italian petecchia, ultimately from Latin impetigo Date: circa 1784 a minute reddish or purplish spot containing blood that appears in skin or mucous membrane a result of localized hemorrhage •… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • petechia — (= petechiae (plural) ) Small round red purple spot, not raised and caused by intradermal haemorrhage …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • petechia — /pi tee kee euh, tek ee euh/, n., pl. petechiae / tee kee ee , tek ee ee /. Pathol. a minute, round, nonraised hemorrhage in the skin or in a mucous or serous membrane. [1575 85; < NL < It petecchia (in pl.) rash, spots on skin < VL *(im)peticula …   Universalium

  • petechia — pe·te·chia pə tē kē ə n, pl chi·ae kē .ī a minute reddish or purplish spot containing blood that appears in skin or mucous membrane as a result of localized hemorrhage * * * pe·te·chia (pə teґke ə) pl. peteґchiae [L.] a pinpoint,… …   Medical dictionary

  • petechia — (Roget s Thesaurus II) noun A mark on the skin indicative of a disease, as typhus: stigma. See MARKS …   English dictionary for students

  • petechia — pɪ tɪːkɪə n. spot of blood showing through the skin, very small hemorrhage under the skin …   English contemporary dictionary

  • petechia — [pɪ ti:kɪə] noun (plural petechiae kɪi:) Medicine a small red or purple spot caused by bleeding into the skin. Derivatives petechial adjective Origin C18: mod. L., from Ital. petecchia (a freckle or spot on the face), from L. petigo scab,… …   English new terms dictionary

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