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Therapeutic aspects of fat embolism syndrome.

Injury 2006 October
Signs and symptoms of clinical fat embolism syndrome (FES) usually begin within 24-48 hours after trauma. The classic triad involves pulmonary changes, cerebral dysfunction, and petechial rash. Clinical diagnosis is key because laboratory and radiographic diagnosis is not specific and can be inconsistent. The duration of FES is difficult to predict because it is often subclinical or may be overshadowed by other illnesses or injuries. Medical care is prophylactic or supportive, including early fixation and general ICU management to ensure adequate oxygenation and ventilation, hemodynamic stability, prophylaxis of deep venous thrombosis, stress-related gastrointestinal bleeding, and nutrition. Studies support early fracture fixation as a method to reduce recurrent fat embolism and FES. The main therapeutic interventions once FES has been clinically diagnosed are directed towards support of pulmonary and neurological manifestations and management of acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

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