Trauma Patient with Fat Embolism Detected on Computed Tomography

Isabel Sousa, João Janeiro, Paula Campos, Isabel Távora


Fat embolism is frequent following fractures of long bones, however the development of the clinical syndrome of fat embolism (characterized by progressive respiratory distress, mental status depression and petechial rash) is rare, but relevant because of its potential severity. We report a case of a trauma patient with multiple fractures of the right lower limb in whom an emergency computed tomography scan showed fat emboli within the lumen of the homolateral common femoral vein. The imaging detection of macroscopic fat emboli should alert the clinician to the potential for subsequent fat embolism syndrome.


Embolism, Fat/diagnostic imaging; Fractures, Bone; Tomography, X-Ray Computed

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