What Causes Stasis Dermatitis?


Quick Answer

Stasis dermatitis can be caused by surgery, trauma to the lower extremities and deep vein thrombosis, according to Healthline. It can also develop as a result of old age, and has been associated with congestive heart failure and varicose veins.

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Full Answer

Stasis dermatitis is when blood pools in the veins of the lower extremities, as stated by Healthline. With age, one-way valves in the legs become weak. As a result, blood flows back towards the legs and pools there instead of flowing back toward the heart. As the blood pools, the venous pressure becomes too high, damaging the capillaries. Fibrinogen, a protein, leaks from the capillaries into the surrounding tissues and is converted to fibrin. Stasis dermatitis results from an excessive buildup of fibrin, causing cells to die and the skin to become inflamed.

Symptoms of stasis dermatitis include dull aching in the legs, pain that worsens when standing, and leg swelling, claims Medline Plus. Other signs may include, skin darkening, itching and ulcers, as reported by Healthline. Possible treatments for stasis dermatitis are wearing compression stockings, avoiding long periods of standing or sitting, using topical steroid creams, and taking oral antibiotics. If left untreated, stasis dermatitis can progress to bone and skin infections, chronic leg ulcers and permanent scarring, according to Healthline.

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