Bruise or ecchymosis?

  1. I said- "resident has bruising on arm and hip because they have been scratching"
    Other nurse said- "It looks ecchymotic to me, not bruised....just my opinion"

    I thought ecchymosis was bruising? Can anyone offer some clarification on this?
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   NurseOnAMotorcycle
    I thought they were the same too.
  4. by   SneakySnake
    So do you think they were being a smarty pants or just trying to impress me with fancy lingo and it backfired making them look...well...silly?

    Or, will there be more input and I will learn that they are indeed two different things?
  5. by   NickiLaughs
    I guess it's a type of bruise, I had thought it was the same too:
    ?A bruise (medically referred to as a contusion) is caused when tiny blood vessels are damaged or broken as the result of a blow to the skin (be it bumping against something or hitting yourself with a hammer). The raised area of a bump or bruise results from blood leaking from these injured blood vessels into the tissues as well as from the body's response to the injury. A purplish, flat bruise that occurs when blood leaks out into the top layers of skin is referred to as an ecchymosis.
    Per medicinenet.com
  6. by   SneakySnake
    Then this resident had bruising (or a contusion) right? The scratching caused damage to the blood vessels. Is ecchymosis just spontaneous blood leakage? I read that definition at medicinenet.com too and I was still confused.
  7. by   Anisettes
    Quote from NickiLaughs
    I guess it's a type of bruise, I had thought it was the same too:
    ?A bruise (medically referred to as a contusion) is caused when tiny blood vessels are damaged or broken as the result of a blow to the skin (be it bumping against something or hitting yourself with a hammer). The raised area of a bump or bruise results from blood leaking from these injured blood vessels into the tissues as well as from the body's response to the injury. A purplish, flat bruise that occurs when blood leaks out into the top layers of skin is referred to as an ecchymosis.
    Per medicinenet.com
    Welcome definition, I didn't know there was a difference either. But since the difference is fairly minor and not as obvious to the normal eye AND she's not a pathologist conducting an autopsy where the difference might have meaning, I'd go with the smarty pants explanation as to why she corrected you.

    Humans are odd creatures, we do all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons. She obviously has a need to be precise (or superior - I don't know her). It's no skin off you, I'd just smile and keep moving. Sometimes you just gotta let people have what they need and let it ride. You can't fix what motivates her (or anybody else) and you'll just make yourself unhappy wondering if she's trying to show you up.
  8. by   crb613
    I was taught not to chart bruise, but describe what I saw....color, size, & so on.
  9. by   Reed84
    The difference is that a bruise is caused by outside trauma to the area. Ecchymosis is a type of bruising caused by a disorder or a side effect to a medication.

    This is what I learned and remembered from nursing school, so technically it is a bruise, but you cannot just call it that.
  10. by   SneakySnake
    Quote from crb613
    I was taught not to chart bruise, but describe what I saw....color, size, & so on.

    That is what I was taught too
  11. by   kanders10
    Yeah it's the same thing. Some bruises can be classified as either petechia, purpura or ecchymosis based on the size and dispersion of it, although they may be caused by different things. I think a lot of people are easily confused by all the terminology so maybe this applies to her as well : )
  12. by   morte
    I was taught to describe this as ecchymotic area....don't want to cause a red flag for anyone looking for a problem, and "bruise" implies injury......in the OP, do we know that the itching caused the ecchymotic area, or is it possble that whatever caused the itching also caused the ecchymosis?
  13. by   SpEdtacular
    I think of contusion (bruise) as meaning the actual injury and ecchymosis as meaning the injured area.

    Like I hit my arm and it caused a contusion. When I looked at it later it was tender and there was a large area of ecchymosis.
  14. by   rnccf2007
    Quote from SneakySnake
    I said- "resident has bruising on arm and hip because they have been scratching"
    Other nurse said- "It looks ecchymotic to me, not bruised....just my opinion"

    I thought ecchymosis was bruising? Can anyone offer some clarification on this?
    Sounds like you have a co-worker from hell that we all have (had) to deal with. Where I come from, eccchymosis simply means bruising. Early in my nursing career (hasn't been too long) I worked with an LPN who sounds like your co-worker. She reviewed and critisized all of my nursing assessments. I am can be silly at times, so I started writing big words for my assessments. No generalized edema for me... "anasarca" , no reddened spots that were not a stage I but "blanchable erythema," etc. She stopped her critisim shortly after. Kind of backfired on me, because now I always document this way. LOL. Thankfully, I don't talk to my patients or co-workers that way. So If you ever get a chance, tell you co-worker..."looks like blanchable erythema to me not a reddened area, etc." Hope you get my point.

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