Pulmonary CT imaging findings in fat embolism syndrome: case series and literature review

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Clin Med (Lond). 2023 Jan;23(1):88-93. doi: 10.7861/clinmed.2022-0428.


BACKGROUND: Fat embolism syndrome (FES) is a rare life-threatening complication, which commonly affects the lung. Currently, the most widely accepted criteria for the diagnosis of FES are the Gurd and Wilson Criteria established nearly 40 years ago, but without pulmonary images involved. Our study aims to analyse the pulmonary computed tomography (CT) findings seen in FES.

CASE PRESENTATION: This report enrolled four cases of FES with lung involvement. The mainly symptoms and signs included dyspnea, disturbance of consciousness, anemia, thrombocytopenia and, most notably, ground-glass opacities, septal thickening, ill-defined centrilobular nodules, and patchy consolidation were demonstrated on bilateral lungs. Combining the clinical manifestations and laboratory tests, the diagnosis of FES was confirmed. With the treatment of steroids, anti-coagulation and supportive treatment, the four patients' symptoms were relieved, abnormalities in chest CT were absorbed significantly and the patients were finally discharged.

CONCLUSIONS: There are several common manifestations of FES in pulmonary CT images, and the lung parenchymal features give more information for the diagnosis of FES than the pulmonary vessel findings. Given the absence of a gold standard diagnostic test for FES, further investigation to explore new diagnostic criteria of FES involving pulmonary radiological features is needed in the future.

PMID:36697017 | DOI:10.7861/clinmed.2022-0428

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