Cerebral fat embolism

Case contributed by Dr Abeer Ahmed Alhelali


Presented to ER with history of trauma. A few days later the patient started to complain of shortness of breath and change in mental status.

Patient Data

Age: 25 years
Gender: Male

X ray left tibia and fibula lateral view shows displaced oblique fracture of the mid shaft of tibia and fibula.

Pulmonary embolism was suspected and proved negative in CT pulmonary angiogram, however, newly developed left basal segmental atelectasis was seen.


MRI Brian stroke protocol was advised as clinical suspicious of fat embolism was raised.

MRI brain revealed multiple small foci of hyperintensities on T2 and FLAIR in bilateral periventricular and deep white matter of frontal and parietal lobes, basal ganglia, thalamus and splenium of corpus callosum, showing restricted diffusion.

Case Discussion

The patient was treated conservatively for the cerebral embolism and showed significant improvement after 2 weeks. Internal fixation with intramedullary nailing was performed for the fractures.

Special thanks to Dr Anurag Jain and Dr Elholiby Tamer Ibrahim.

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Case information

rID: 51066
Published: 8th Feb 2017
Last edited: 23rd Apr 2018
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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