Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock

: 2009  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 29--33

Emergency management of fat embolism syndrome

Nissar Shaikh 
 Hamad Medical Corporation, P.Box 3050, Doha, Qatar

Correspondence Address:
Nissar Shaikh
Hamad Medical Corporation, P.Box 3050, Doha

Fat emboli occur in all patients with long-bone fractures, but only few patients develop systemic dysfunction, particularly the triad of skin, brain, and lung dysfunction known as the fat embolism syndrome (FES). Here we review the FES literature under different subheadings. The incidence of FES varies from 1-29%. The etiology may be traumatic or, rarely, nontraumatic. Various factors increase the incidence of FES. Mechanical and biochemical theories have been proposed for the pathophysiology of FES. The clinical manifestations include respiratory and cerebral dysfunction and a petechial rash. Diagnosis of FES is difficult. The other causes for the above-mentioned organ dysfunction have to be excluded. The clinical criteria along with imaging studies help in diagnosis. FES can be detected early by continuous pulse oximetry in high-risk patients. Treatment of FES is essentially supportive. Medications, including steroids, heparin, alcohol, and dextran, have been found to be ineffective.

How to cite this article:
Shaikh N. Emergency management of fat embolism syndrome.J Emerg Trauma Shock 2009;2:29-33

How to cite this URL:
Shaikh N. Emergency management of fat embolism syndrome. J Emerg Trauma Shock [serial online] 2009 [cited 2021 Apr 19 ];2:29-33
Available from:;year=2009;volume=2;issue=1;spage=29;epage=33;aulast=Shaikh;type=0