Fat embolism syndrome causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Feham Tariq, MD [2]


The causes of fat embolism syndrome can be divided into trauma and non-trauma related. The most common cause of fat embolism syndrome is long bone fracture especially the femur. Other causes include orthopedic procedures, liposuction, pelvic fractures and soft tissue injury.


The causes of fat embolism syndrome can be divided into trauma and non-trauma related.

Common causes:

The common causes of fat embolism are divided into trauma-related and non-trauma related.[1][2][3][4][5]

Causes of fat embolism syndrome
Trauma-related causes
Orthopedic causes Non-orthopedic causes

Less common causes:

Rare causes of fat embolism syndrome are as follows:[12][13][14]

Non-trauma related rare causes


  1. Stein PD, Yaekoub AY, Matta F, Kleerekoper M (2008). "Fat embolism syndrome". Am J Med Sci. 336 (6): 472–7. doi:10.1097/MAJ.0b013e318172f5d2. PMID 19092320.
  2. Mellor A, Soni N (2001). "Fat embolism". Anaesthesia. 56 (2): 145–54. PMID 11167474.
  3. Akhtar S (2009). "Fat embolism". Anesthesiol Clin. 27 (3): 533–50, table of contents. doi:10.1016/j.anclin.2009.07.018. PMID 19825491.
  4. Nikolić S, Micić J, Savić S, Uzelac-Belovski Z (2000). "[Post-traumatic systemic fat embolism syndrome. Retrospective autopsy study]". Srp Arh Celok Lek. 128 (1–2): 24–8. PMID 10916460.
  5. Eriksson EA, Pellegrini DC, Vanderkolk WE, Minshall CT, Fakhry SM, Cohle SD (2011). "Incidence of pulmonary fat embolism at autopsy: an undiagnosed epidemic". J Trauma. 71 (2): 312–5. doi:10.1097/TA.0b013e3182208280. PMID 21825932.
  6. Nikolić S, Micić J, Savić S, Uzelac-Belovski Z (2000). "[Post-traumatic pulmonary and systemic fat embolism in forensic practice. Prospective histological study]". Srp Arh Celok Lek. 128 (3–4): 90–3. PMID 10932616.
  7. Bracco D, Favre JB, Joris R, Ravussin A (2000). "Fatal fat embolism syndrome: a case report". J Neurosurg Anesthesiol. 12 (3): 221–4. PMID 10905570.
  8. López-Sánchez M, Alvarez-Antoñán C, Arce-Mateos FP, Gómez-Román J, Quesada-Suescun A, Zurbano-Goñi F (2010). "Single lung transplantation and fatal fat embolism acquired from the donor: management and literature review". Clin Transplant. 24 (1): 133–8. doi:10.1111/j.1399-0012.2009.01131.x. PMID 19888997.
  9. Baselga J, Reich L, Doherty M, Gulati S (1991). "Fat embolism syndrome following bone marrow harvesting". Bone Marrow Transplant. 7 (6): 485–6. PMID 1873595.
  10. Mudd KL, Hunt A, Matherly RC, Goldsmith LJ, Campbell FR, Nichols GR; et al. (2000). "Analysis of pulmonary fat embolism in blunt force fatalities". J Trauma. 48 (4): 711–5. PMID 10780606.
  11. Li S, Zou D, Qin Z, Liu N, Zhang J, Li Z; et al. (2015). "Nonfracture-associated pulmonary fat embolism after blunt force fatality: case report and review of the literature". Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 36 (2): 61–5. doi:10.1097/PAF.0000000000000142. PMID 25651164.
  12. Hjort M, Hoegberg LC, Almind M, Jansen T (2015). "Subacute fat-embolism-like syndrome following high-volume intramuscular and accidental intravascular injection of mineral oil". Clin Toxicol (Phila). 53 (4): 230–2. doi:10.3109/15563650.2015.1013195. PMID 25684399.
  13. Al-Shaer DS, Ayoub O, Ahamed NA, Al-Hibshi AM, Baeesa SS (2016). "Cerebral fat embolism syndrome following total knee replacement causing a devastating neurocognitive sequelae". Neurosciences (Riyadh). 21 (3): 271–4. doi:10.17712/nsj.2016.3.20150716. PMC 5107298. PMID 27356663.
  14. Ahmadzai H, Campbell S, Archis C, Clark WA (2014). "Fat embolism syndrome following percutaneous vertebroplasty: a case report". Spine J. 14 (4): e1–5. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2013.09.021. PMID 24314905.
  15. Eckardt P, Raez LE, Restrepo A, Temple JD (1999). "Pulmonary bone marrow embolism in sickle cell disease". South Med J. 92 (2): 245–7. PMID 10071678.
  16. Ballas SK, Pindzola A, Chang CD, Rubin R, Weibel SB, Manci E (1998). "Postmortem diagnosis of hemoglobin SC disease complicated by fat embolism". Ann Clin Lab Sci. 28 (3): 144–9. PMID 9646854.
  17. Garza JA (1990). "Massive fat and necrotic bone marrow embolization in a previously undiagnosed patient with sickle cell disease". Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 11 (1): 83–8. PMID 2305755.