Stasis dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis refers to the skin changes that occur in the leg as a result of "stasis" or blood pooling from insufficient venous return; the alternative name of varicose eczema comes from a common cause of this being varicose veins.

Insufficient venous return results in increased pressure in the capillaries with the result that both fluid and cells may "leak" out of the capillaries. This results in red cells breaking down, with iron containing hemosiderin possibly contributing to the pathology of this entity.


  • In appearance the skin appears thin, brown and tissue-like, with possible skin lesions (macule or patch), red spots, superficial skin irritation and/or darkening and/or thickening of skin at the ankles or legs
  • The skin may be weakened and ulcerate in areas.
  • Legs, ankles, or other areas may be swollen
  • Open sores, ulcers
  • Itching and/or leg pains

The cracks and poor skin condition of this disorder predisposes for the entry of bacterial infection causing spreading cellulitis infection in the leg. If the skin condition deteriorates further and breaks down, a venous ulcer may form.


Treatment may consist of topical applications of steroid based creams and the use of compression stockings to help force the underlying buildup of fluids back out of the lower leg or sequential gradient pump therapy. Sequential Gradient Pump Therapy has been used over 30 years throughout the world.


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