Wet Purpura, Dry Purpura

William H. Crosby, MD
JAMA. 1975;232(7):744-745. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03250070040025.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Thrombocytopenic purpura is one of few hematologic disorders that may be a five-alarm emergency. It is potentially fatal, yet potentially curable. Adequate intervention can mean the difference.

Evaluation of the case need not take long. Look at the patient. Look at a blood smear. Do a platelet count. Aspirate bone marrow from the sternum. (At the sternum, bleeding can be controlled by finger pressure. From a hole in the posterior iliac crest a patient with thrombocytopenia can lose a liter of blood. I have seen a hematoma that extended from knee to axilla.)

Examination of the patient permits a most critical determination. Is it wet purpura or dry purpura? In either variety the platelet count may be 5,000/cu mm or less, but in wet purpura the patient is bleeding: the gums ooze, or the nose bleeds, or there may be blood blisters in the mouth, all of which cause guaiac-positive


Sign In to Access Full Content

Don't have Access?

Register and get free email Table of Contents alerts, saved searches, PowerPoint downloads, CME quizzes, and more

Subscribe for full-text access to content from 1998 forward and a host of useful features

Activate your current subscription (AMA members and current subscribers)

Purchase Online Access to this article for 24 hours




Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Sign In to Access Full Content

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.