noun, plural: petechiae

An initially purplish red spot that later turns blue or yellow on the body surface (i.e. skin or mucous membrane) due to a small intradermal or submucous hemorrhage.


The petechiae are very small, perfectly rounded spot on the body surface like skin. Compared with ecchymoses the petechiae are smaller spots.

The most common cause is physical trauma, such as coughing, vomiting or crying that may lead to formation of petechiae in the face, especially around the eyes. In other cases, petechiae can be a sign of thrombocytopenia or clotting factor deficiencies.

Word origin: from Italian petecchie, pl. of petecchia, spot on skin, from Vulgar Latin petīcula

Compare: ecchymosis

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