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September 1931


Author Affiliations

From the office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York.

Arch Surg. 1931;23(3):426-465. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1931.01160090071002

INTRODUCTION  Fat embolism is that condition which occurs when a liquid oil enters the circulating blood and is transported in globules large enough to obstruct the lumen of blood vessels in different parts of the body. It has been described frequently as an important complication of trauma in human beings, and occasionally may be severe enough to be a definite cause of death. Two well defined clinical and pathologic varieties of fat embolism are now recognized: (1) the pulmonary form, in which the emboli obstruct the smaller blood vessels of the lungs and produce symptoms of asphyxia, and (2) the cerebral form, in which the emboli gain entrance to the arterial circulation, block the arterioles in the different organs, especially the brain, and produce symptoms referable to the central nervous system.Fat embolism of a less serious nature has been found at necropsy not only in persons who have suffered

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