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Fat Embolism

Leonard F. Peltier, MD, PhD; John A. Collins, MD; Charles M. Evarts, MD; Simon Sevitt, MD
Arch Surg. 1974;109(1):12-16. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1974.01360010004002.
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This is another Panel by Correspondence in a series being published by the Archives. Four recognized experts on fat embolism were asked to participate, and with their help ten questions were composed; each expert was then asked to answer them independently. The Archives is grateful to the distinguished surgeons who have agreed to participate in this panel on "Fat Embolism."

Dr. Peltier: The first clinical diagnosis of fat embolism was made by Ernst von Bergmann 100 years ago. Since that time the pathogenesis and clinical features of fat embolism have been the subject of a voluminous literature. The diagnosis of fat embolism has undergone extraordinary vicissitudes, being described both as an ephemeral or even mythical condition, and as a major cause of death in patients with skeletal injuries. The observation, by Sproule and his associates in 1964, of a significant degree of pulmonary shunting and hypoxemia in patients with fat


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