Arthurs, Milton H.,; Morgan, Owen St. C.; Sivapragasam, Subramanian
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Fat embolism syndrome following long bone fractures.
West Indian Medical Journal
Date of Publication
During the period August, 1979 to December, 1992, 14 patients with the fat embolism syndrome (FES) were admitted to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI). Two were females and 12 males, their ages ranging from 18 to 78 years, with a median age of 23.5 years. All had lower limb long bone fractures. Clinical features included fever, tachypnoea, confusion and drowsiness. They were all hypoxaemic; 9 required Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission and, of these 4 needed ventilatory support. Five patients became comatose, 4 of whom developed decerebrate posturing. There was one death from Klebsiella septicaemia, and 13 patients recovered fully. The FES is a serious life-threatening complication of long bone fractures whether simple or compound, usually occurring within 72 hours of the injury. A high index of suspicion is needed for its prompt detection, and early attempts at maintaining adequate tissue oxygenation most be instituted if serious neurological complications and death are to be avoided....