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July 21, 1975

Fat Embolism and Postoperative JaundiceA Case Report

Author Affiliations

From the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn.

JAMA. 1975;233(3):271-272. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260030061027

THE FAT embolism syndrome is generally considered to be uncommon except as a complication of fractures or severe trauma.1 Evidence is accumulating that, in mild form, this phenomenon may be frequent and may even follow minor injury.2,3 We recently saw a patient in whom the fat embolism syndrome developed after minor surgery. Furthermore, jaundice, which is not usually observed in patients with fat embolism, was a major feature.

Report of a Case  A muscular 20-year-old man underwent anterior capsule repair for chronic dislocation of the shoulder. He had been in excellent health, took no medication, and gave no prior history of liver disease. The operation, under halothane anesthesia, lasted 21/2 hours. There were no periods of hypotension. Blood loss was minimal and transfusions were not given. At 48 hours after operation, pyrexia to 40.5 C (105 F) developed. He became dyspneic and complained of moderately severe upper