An 86-year-old man suffering from right hemiparesis and dementia fell from a stretcher and sustained laceration and bruising to his right eyebrow. He was brought to an emergency room, and his wounds were treated. Shortly after discharge, his respiratory and mental status dramatically declined. Despite supportive care, he died about three hours after re-admission. Autopsy revealed a minor laceration to the eyebrow with minor intracranial injuries, mild cardiomegaly (370 g) with right atrial dilatation, pericardial effusion (170 ml) and marked pulmonary edema. Microscopically, fatty droplets were observed in the lung capillaries, the glomeruli and the intracerebral vessels. Although the extent of the original injuries seemed insufficient to cause systemic fat embolism syndrome (FES), the patient's decreased cardiac reserves and stress associated with this event likely contributed to his death consistent with the physiochemical model of FES pathogenesis.
- Bedridden elderly
- Fat embolism syndrome
- Soft tissue injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine