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Petechiae: Reproducible Pattern of Distribution and Increased Appearance After Bed Rest

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Ganse B, Limper U, Bühlmeier J, Rittweger J. Petechiae: reproducible pattern of distribution and increased appearance after bed rest. Aviat Space Environ Med 2013; 84:864–6.

Background: Exposure to acceleration can cause petechial hemorrhages, called G measles. Petechiae usually start to develop between 5 and 9 G with a high interindividual variance. Centrifuge training delays the onset to higher G levels. One might expect onset at lower G levels after bed rest; however, there is no evidence in the literature. A case of petechiae formation after bed rest is presented here. Case report: Orthostatic tolerance was tested using a tilt table and lower body negative pressure before and after bed rest in both campaigns of a 2 × 21-d bed rest study with 6° head-down tilt. A 42-yr-old male Caucasian without any history of thrombosis, venous disease, hemorrhage, or petechiae, and with a negative thrombophilia screening, took part in the bed rest study as 1 out of 10 subjects. He was the only one to develop petechiae during the orthostatic tests after, but not before, bed rest in both campaigns. Petechiae were distributed throughout the lower legs and most pronounced at the shin in a stocking-like fashion, surprisingly reoccurring in an identical pattern of distribution. Petechiae appeared slowly over minutes during hyperemia. Discussion: This case indicates that prolonged bed rest decreases the threshold for petechiae formation. A reproducible distribution pattern suggests that factors predisposing to petechiae formation keep their local distribution over time (possibly due to local vessel structures). Mechanisms of adaptation and interindividual variance are unclear. Findings are of clinical relevance as such cases might occur after prolonged bed rest in patients without need of expensive testing.

Keywords: G measles; LBNP; acceleration; petechial hemorrhages; tilt table

Document Type: Case Report

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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