Fat embolism, as a clinical entity, received but little attention in this country until the excellent and scholarly paper of A. S. Warthin1 appeared in 1913.
The clinical, picture in fat embolism is fairly well marked. There is usually an incubation period of from twenty-four to thirty-six hours after the traumatism, whether surgical or accidental. In severe, crushing injuries this period may be reduced to three hours, as in the case reported by Beitzke.2 Then ensues difficulty in respiration; not a true dyspnea, but rather an air hunger. This marks the entrance of the fat into the lungs from the right heart. Some patients may show no other symptoms and may make a speedy recovery. The temperature is not much elevated in this variety, but the pulse and respiration are rapid.
In severer cases the fat passes from the lungs to the left heart and into the general
RYERSON EW. FAT EMBOLISM IN BONE SURGERY: INCIDENCE AND PREVENTION. JAMA. 1916;LXVII(9):657–658. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02590090011003
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