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Dermatopathology: Practical & Conceptual July - September 2005
4. Understanding livedo vasculitis: Part I—A glossary, in historical perspective, of terms related to "livedo" and "livedo vasculitis"
K. C. Nischal, M.D.
Almut Böer, M.D.
1860: livedo reticularis
1907: livedo racemosa
1929: atrophie blanche
capillarite télangiectasique et atrophiante
capillarites sclérosantes et atrophiantes
1953: capillaritis alba
1955: livedo reticularis with summer ulceration
1956: livedo reticularis with ulcerations
1957: atrophia alba
1965: Sneddon syndrome
1966: periodic painful ulcers of lower extremities
1967: livedo vasculitis
1967: segmental hyalinizing vasculitis
1974: livedoid vasculitis
1974: livedo reticulosis
1974: vasculitis of atrophie blanche
1983: PURPLE (painful purpuric ulcers with reticular patterning on the lower extremities)
1992: livedo vasculopathy
1998: livedoid vasculopathy
Suggestion for terminology
I. Useful terms
II. Confusing terms—to be avoided
III. Antiquated terms—not to be used any more
The term "livedo" was introduced by Hebra in the 19th century. [
] He used it to designate a violet discoloration of the skin that in his opinion came to be through a "local disturbance of circulation" as opposed to "cyanosis," which he defined as a bluish discoloration of the skin consequent to insufficient oxygenation of blood in the lung. Livedo is derived from the Latin word
(pale blue). A term related to livedo is "livores," which designates the bluish discolorations of the skin on dependent parts of a corps. Sometimes, livores are also called "post mortem livedo." Interestingly, those macules are livid (i.e., pale blue) only shortly after death. Later, they become purple and, still later, black. That may be the reason why, in subsequent years, the term livedo has also been applied to lesions that are purple or black and not just to those that are pale bluish. Today, livedo is usually not employed as a single term but combined with "racemosa" or "reticularis"
livedo reticularis and livedo racemosa).
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