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November 1959

Senile Purpura and Liver Disease: A Possible Relationship

Author Affiliations

New Orleans

From the Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, Tulane University School of Medicine and the Charity Hospital of Louisiana.

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(5):529-532. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560230015002

Bateman1 (1836) is generally credited with the first description of senile purpura, which he had observed in elderly women. These lesions appeared

. . . principally along the outside of the forearm in successive dark purple blotches, of an irregular form and various magnitude. Each of these continues for a week or ten days, when the extravasated blood is absorbed. A constant series of these ecchymoses had appeared in one case during ten years, and in others for a shorter period; but in all, the skin of the arm was left of a brown colour.

This brief but precise description was forgotten until near the turn of the century, when Unna,9 as well as Pasini,4 investigated the condition. The excellent article of Tattersall and Seville8 gives evidence that senile purpura is constantly associated with an extreme degree of senile degeneration of exposed skin; the individual