Hi all,

I'm new, so please don't judge me too hard. Im about to take boards and as I'm studying, I'm wondering if you guys have any input on when you AREN'T worried about petechiae. I know when you have a patient who is vomiting forcefully, it is a possibility due to bursting capillaries; however, I don't feel well-versed on when it is otherwise a normal finding.

What say you all?


199 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

It's not a normal finding. But I wouldn't worry about this too much. Don't get stuck in the trees. You'll never master all concepts.

Lev, MSN, RN, NP

8 Articles; 2,803 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner. Has 10 years experience.

Probably in a patient with chronic cardiac issues who has had them for years.


17 Posts

I've had patients with petechiae because of when they were pushing during labor.

bgxyrnf, MSN, RN

1,208 Posts

Specializes in Med-Tele; ED; ICU. Has 10 years experience.

It's never a normal finding but neither is it necessarily an ominous finding.

From an ED perspective, I wouldn't be terribly worried about a few petechiae in the absence of signs of bacteremia or thrombocytopenia.


I agree with 3peas, though: Don't get hung up on details; focus on broad, overarching principles.

Ruby Vee, BSN

67 Articles; 14,022 Posts

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

When I was in nursing school, I studied the chapter on petechia. At the time, I wore clogs everywhere I went -- they were the only paid or shoes I owned. I used to stand on one foot and rub my leg with my other foot . . . Turns out that just about everything in the world makes me itch. One morning, I woke up with -- you guessed it -- petechiae. They were all up and down my legs (where I'd been rubbing with my wooden clogs). I was sure I had leukemia and was going to die . . . I took myself off to the student health center where I listed my major complaint.

When the doctor saw me, he wasn't impressed with my petechiae. He asked me how I even knew the word. And then, he said "AH. You're a nursing student." And told me that I'd been studying too hard. And that next week, when my class discussed solid tumors, he'd have a few nursing students visiting him, convinced they had cancer and were going to die.

Evidently he was right, because it's been forty some years and I'm still alive.