Hyperacute cerebral fat embolism in a patient with femoral shaft fracture

Po Chuan Chen, Chin Wang Hsu, Wen I. Liao, Yu Long Chen, Cheng Hsuan Ho, Shih Hung Tsai

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Abstract

Fat embolism syndrome is a potentially fatal complication and occurs most commonly after long bone fracture. In patients who sustained severe trauma, both cerebral fat embolism(CFE) and diffuse axonal injury (DAI) could be the cause of altered consciousness in the absence of marked intracranial lesions in cranial computed tomography. However, distinguishing CFE and DAI can be difficult clinically. Generally, DAI develops immediately after the insult, whereas CFE occurs 48 to 72 hours after the trauma and even after internal fixation for the fractures. Fat embolism syndrome develops within an average of 48.5 hours after long bone fracture [1] but has never been reported to occur in less than 2 hours. Here, we present a patient who developed hyperacute CFE and eventually had poor neurological outcome, in contrast to previous reports stating that CFE usually has a long latent period and favorable outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Volume31
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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