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Capillaritis in Child
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Capillaritis in Child

Contributors: Connie R. Shi MD, Belinda Tan MD, PhD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Capillaritis, also known as the pigmented purpuric dermatoses (PPD) or benign pigmented purpura, refers to a collection of benign cutaneous conditions characterized by the appearance of cayenne pepper-like petechiae, purpura, and golden-brown pigmentation on the legs and less commonly on the trunk and upper extremities.

Several distinct clinical entities have been described:
  • Schamberg disease: the most common manifestation of PPD in children
  • Purpura annularis telangiectodes (Majocchi disease)
  • Eczematid-like purpura of Doucas and Kapetanakis
  • Pigmented purpuric lichenoid dermatosis of Gougerot and Blum
  • Lichen aureus
  • Linear pigmented purpura
  • Granulomatous pigmented purpura
While PPD is uncommonly seen in children, all subtypes have been reported in the pediatric population.

Development of capillaritis has been associated with venous hypertension, increased capillary fragility, gravity, exercise, and focal infections. In the pediatric population, many cases are thought to be idiopathic.

Capillaritis is typically asymptomatic but may be pruritic. It is usually a chronic condition with intermittent exacerbations and remissions. There is no geographic or hereditary population predilection.


I78.8 – Other diseases of capillaries

85461008 – Capillaritis

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Last Reviewed:12/01/2016
Last Updated:12/01/2016
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Patient Information for Capillaritis in Child
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Contributors: Medical staff writer


Capillaritis is a condition where inflammation of the tiniest blood vessels in the skin results in leakage of blood and petechiae (tiny spots of bleeding under the skin that do not blanche when you press on them). Capillaritis is frequently found in individuals who stand for long periods of time, such as people who are on their feet a lot for work. Capillaritis can come and go intermittently.

Who’s At Risk

Capillaritis is seen more commonly in adults, especially men, but it can occur in older children and teenagers as well.

Signs & Symptoms

The most common location for capillaritis is the legs, but it can also occur on the trunk and arms. Capillaritis never occurs on the face. Capillaritis may appear as:
  • Brown-red or dark brown petechiae in darker skin colors or light red or dark red petechiae in lighter skin colors.
  • Color variations in the lesions may be seen at different stages of development.
  • Petechiae can merge to form petechial patches.

Self-Care Guidelines

No self-care is necessary.

When to Seek Medical Care

Although capillaritis itself is a harmless condition, other conditions can also cause petechiae. Seek medical evaluation for a rash with petechiae or another unknown rash.


If capillaritis is diagnosed, your medical professional may prescribe a topical steroid cream or lotion.
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Capillaritis in Child
A medical illustration showing key findings of Capillaritis : Cayenne pepper like purpura, Lower leg
Clinical image of Capillaritis - imageId=221951. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Multiple tiny, cayenne pepper-type petechiae and golden-brown macules on the thigh.'
Multiple tiny, cayenne pepper-type petechiae and golden-brown macules on the thigh.
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