Fat Embolism Syndrome

  • John M. O’Donnell


Fat embolism in humans was first recognized in 1861 by Zenker (1) who described fat droplets in the lung of a railroad worker who had suffered a fatal thoracoabdominal crush injury. Despite the patient’s multiple fractures, Zenker believed the fat to have originated from the contents of a lacerated stomach. Twelve years later, Von Bergmann (2) clinically diagnosed fat embolism syndrome (FES) in a patient with a fractured femur, and in 1875 Czerny (3) investigated the association of cerebral symptoms that sometimes occurred in patients with fat emboli. While most patients with FES are victims of trauma or have undergone orthopedic surgery, the entity has also been associated with a long list of medical conditions (Table 1).


Free Fatty Acid Intramedullary Nailing Multiple Trauma Patient Civilian Accident Toxic Free Fatty Acid 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. O’Donnell
    • 1
  1. 1.Lahey Clinic Medical CenterBurlingtonUSA

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