Starfield pattern (fat embolism)

Last revised by Dr Yahya Baba on 13 Feb 2022

A starfield pattern has been described as being typical of DWI of patients with cerebral fat embolism 1,2. Although the term is closely linked to the diagnosis of fat embolism, it should be noted that such an appearance is merely the result of very numerous microemboli. As such, a similar pattern may be seen in other causes of microembolism, although generally, the number of lesions will be far fewer in thromboembolism than in fat embolism. 

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Cases and figures

  • A starfield (photo)
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  • Case 1: cerebral fat embolism
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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