Livedo is a cutaneous sign characterised by violaceous patches and plaques in a reticulated configuration. Many acute, potentially life-threatening conditions may lead to livedo. In evaluation of the acutely ill patient with livedo, one must consider disseminated infection, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and medication effect. Many chronic conditions may contribute to livedo. A thorough history and physical examination are required to identify the etiology of livedo in the chronically ill patient who is haemodynamically stable. In well-appearing patients in whom other causes of livedo have been excluded, one may consider physiologic, idiopathic, or primary livedo in the diagnosis. Erythema ab igne, a condition that may mimic livedo, is diagnosed after obtaining a history of prolonged heat exposure at the involved area.
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