From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary



A type of haematoma that measures about 3–10 mm in diameter in the skin, mucous membrane, or serosal surface, does not blanch when pressure is applied, and red or purplish in colour


Haematoma is a localised collection of blood, usually clotted, in an organ, space or tissue, due to a break in the wall of a blood vessel. It may be classified according to the degree affected. It may be petechiae, purpura, or ecchymosis.

Purpura is a small haematoma that ranges from 3 to 10 mm in diameter. It is reddish or purplish in colour (thus, the name). It does not blanch when pressure is applied. It may be caused by various factors, e.g. blood disorders, vascular abnormalities and trauma.

Purpuric lesions may be associated with inflammation, in which case they present as papular purpura. When the haemorrhage is not accompanied by inflammation it is referred to as macular purpura.

Purpura is common in certain diseases such as typhus and meningitis. Purpura may also be associated with disorders, such as platelet disorders (thrombocytopenic purpura), vascular disorders (nonthrombocytopenic purpura), and coagulation disorders (e.g. disseminated intravascular coagulation and scurvy).

See also:

  • haemorrhage
  • petechia
  • ecchymosis

Related term(s):