Clinical characteristics and management of patients with fat embolism syndrome in level I Apex Trauma Centre

Richa Aggarwal, Arnab Banerjee, Kapil dev Soni, Atin Kumar, Anjan Trikha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose: Fat embolism syndrome (FES)is systemic manifestation of fat emboli in the circulation seen mostly after long bone fractures. FES is considered a lethal complication of trauma. There are various case reports and series describing FES. Here we describe the clinical characteristics, management in ICU and outcome of these patients in level I trauma center in a span of 6 months. Methods: In this prospective study, analysis of all the patients with FES admitted in our polytrauma intensive care unit (ICU)of level I trauma center over a period of 6 months (from August 2017 to January 2018)was done. Demographic data, clinical features, management in ICU and outcome were analyzed. Results: We admitted 10 cases of FES. The mean age of patients was 31.2 years. The mean duration from time of injury to onset of symptoms was 56 h. All patients presented with hypoxemia and petechiae but central nervous system symptoms were present in 70% of patients. The mean duration of mechanical ventilation was 11.7 days and the mean length of ICU stay was 14.7 days. There was excellent recovery among patients with no neurological deficit. Conclusion: FES is considered a lethal complication of trauma but timely management can result in favorable outcome. FES can occur even after fixation of the fracture. Hypoxia is the most common and earliest feature of FES followed by CNS manifestations. Any patient presenting with such symptoms should raise the suspicion of FES and mandate early ICU referral.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-176
Number of pages5
JournalChinese Journal of Traumatology - English Edition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Cite this