Fat embolus

Fat embolus commonly occurs following fractures of the pelvis and long bones, and may occasionally occur during manipulation of fractures or following elective orthopedic surgery. It manifests 2 or 3 days after injury, with a general deterioration in the patient's condition. Pulmonary manifestations are the most common and constitute the major threat to life. Signs and symptoms include dyspnea, cyanosis, and frothy sputum containing fat globules. Chest radiographs show mottling of the lung fields, and blood gas analysis shows low arterial partial pressure of oxygen due to ventilation-perfusion mismatch.

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