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A PTA inspects and palpates the skin of a patient with peripheral vascular disease. The clinician notices a dark purplish-blue discoloration of the skin. This finding may indicate which of the following?

A. Normal response to pressure on the skin

B. Reflex vasoconstriction due to cold response

C. Pathology involving the liver

D. Tissue hypoxia or hematologic pathology

The answer is D. A dark bluish or purplish discoloration of the integument and mucous membranes is termed cyanosis and may indicate hypoxia or hematologic pathology.

On observation, a PTA notes yellowish discoloration of the skin and sclera. What medical question is most appropriate to identify a possible underlying pathology based on the observation?

A. Have you previously experienced difficulty in breathing or other problems affecting your lungs or respiration?

B. Have you experienced instances where you feel that your heart is racing and your pulse is fast?

C. Have you been diagnosed with or been told that you have a liver problem?

D. Do you have any difficulty urinating?

The answer is C. Jaundice, or yellowish discoloration of the skin, may indicate an underlying liver pathology.

Which of the following statements is true regarding checking the nail bed for possible pathology?

A. Finger clubbing is a normal age-related change affecting the nails.

B. Normal nail bases should look convex and create an oval-shaped space when nails of opposite hands are placed together.

C. Finger clubbing refers to an increased angle between the fingernail and where the nail enters the skin.

D. Abnormalities seen on the nail beds are not sensitive tests to indicate any systemic pathology.

The answer is C. Finger clubbing refers to an increased angle between the fingernail and where the nails enter the skin and may indicate chronic tissue hypoxia.

A PTA notes a solid, elevated, sharply circumscribed, small (1 cm) colored lesion (pink, tan, red, or any variation) on the patient’s lower extremities. Which of the following is the appropriate term to denote this lesion?

A. Macule

B. Papule

C. Pustule


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