November 1924


Arch Surg. 1924;9(3):593-605. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1924.01120090110007

Fat embolism is an acute circulatory disturbance caused by trauma, manifested anatomically by the presence of fat globules within the vessels of the circulation and by certain secondary changes which these produce; clinically it is recognized by the presence of restlessness, dyspnea, delirium, coma and, frequently, death.

The cause of fat embolism is always trauma. It may have been such a trauma as to have caused a fracture of bones, a type which is most likely to produce fat embolism; or it may be the trauma which has caused a blunt injury to adipose tissue, or a rupture of certain viscera rich in fat, such as the liver, although this type of case is comparatively rare; it may occur in certain surgical procedures where considerable trauma is employed in the forcible correction of bones and joints such as sometimes happens in the operation of osteoclasis. Osteomyelitis has been mentioned as

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