Case Report: Fat Embolism Syndrome – Grave Handicap after Traumatic Long-bones Fractures

Authors: M. Blažek;  E. Havel;  J. Cerman;  E. Bělobrádková;  T. Dědek;  I. Počepcov
Authors‘ workplace: Chirurgická klinika, Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Lékařská fakulta v Hradci Králové a Fakultní nemocnice Hradec Králové, přednosta: prof. MUDr. Alexander Ferko, CSc.
Published in: Rozhl. Chir., 2009, roč. 88, č. 11, s. 649-655.
Category: Monothematic special - Original


Embolism of fat and bone marrow tissue is quite often due to bone fractures but it is seldom with signs of systemic involvement as a fat embolism syndrome. The main forming factor is late stabilization of fractures and hypovolemia too. Clinical image of fat embolism syndrome results from lung and systemic microembolism which leads to activation of inflammatory and thrombogenic cascades. We present a case report of a 24-year-old male after bike accident in low speed suffering from isolated thighbone fracture – osteosynthesis was applied in 6 hours after injury. The very first day the organ failure and coma with negative CT occurred, then ARDS, petechiae into the skin of chest and conjunctiva, also embolic closure of a. centralis retinae. Treatment interventions included anticoagulation, steroids, artificial ventilation for 17 days. After 3 weeks from injury he was still unconscious (with GCS 10) so that we tried a hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The patient regained consciousness after 3 months after injury. One year later he is able to walk alone, he has no visual failure, but he is still quadruspastic although able to manipulate with a mobile phone. We discuss diagnostic criteria and treatment. We also point out need of volumetherapy in prevention of fat embolism syndrome – this was underrated here because of primary missed out diagnose of co-existing tibia fracture at the same time (this was stabilised 18 hours after injury).

Key words:
fat embolism syndrome – trauma


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