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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 12(2); 2001 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2001;12(2): 170-175.
Post-Traumatic Cerebral Fat Embolism
Jeung Mi Moon, Jeung Ii So, Young Kweon Kim, Jin Ho Ryoo, Tag Heo, Jeong Jin Seo, Yong il Min
1Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, Chonnam National University, Kwangju, Korea. drmjm@chollian.net
2Department of Diagnostic Radiology, College of Medicine, Chonnam National University, Kwangju, Korea.
ABSTRACT
Post-traumatic fat embolism was first reported by Zenker in 1862, Von Bergmann reported the first clinical diagnosis of the fat embolism syndrome in 1873. Fat embolism has been associated with traumatic or non-traumatic disorders. Fat embolization after long bone trauma is probably common as a subclinical event. The diagnosis of fat embolism syndrome is based on the patient's history, is supported by clinical signs of pulmonary, cerebral, and cutaneous dysfunction, and is confirmed by the demonstration of arterial hypoxemia in the abscence of other disorders. Two different mechanisms cause fat to embolize: direct entry of deposit fat into the blood stream and agglutination of endogenous or exogenous plasma fat. MRI can detect a cerebral fat embolism with a higher sensitivity than cerebral CT. We report a case of post-traumatic cerebral fat embolism without pulmonary involvement, and we present a review of the literature. A 16-year girl had a traffic accident and pelvic bone fracture. Forty eight hours later severe trauma become stuporous without a focal neurological deficit. The patient received supportive therapy, and her condition improved throughout her hospital course. She was discharged with good condition after a 30-day hospital stay.
Key words: Fat embolism, Post-trauma, Cerebral embolization
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