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March 27, 1967

Systemic Fat Embolism Following Acute Primary Osteomyelitis

Author Affiliations

From the Communicable Disease Service and the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and the Los Angeles County General Hospital.

JAMA. 1967;199(13):1004-1006. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120130090023

THE SYNDROME of systemic fat embolism has been recognized for many years and several reviews of the subject have recently been published.1-4 The principle underlying etiology is trauma, especially fracture of long bones. There are, however, other much less common predisposing conditions in which the associated fat embolism is usually not recognized. A partial list of these would include severe burns, acute fatty liver of the alcoholic, extracorporeal circulation, corticosteroid therapy, sickle cell and sickle-C crises with bone marrow infarction, following oil lymphography, and pancreatitis.

We wish to report what we believe is the first fully documented case in the American literature of systemic fat embolism following acute primary osteomyelitis.

Report of a Case  A 15-year-old white boy was admitted to the Los Angeles County General Hospital on Aug 13, 1965. There had been a slight headache, some malaise, and left shoulder pain of two to three days duration.