Reversible Catastrophic Fat Embolism: A Case Report

HSS Journal

Thomas P. Sculco, MD
Thomas P. Sculco, MD
Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery
Surgeon-in-Chief Emeritus, Hospital for Special Surgery
Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College

Kethy Jules-Elysee, MD
Department of Anesthesiology, Hospital for Special Surgery

A case of near-cardiac arrest preceded by acute pulmonary hypertension during cementing of the femoral component of total hip replacement is presented. Treatment consisted of both epinephrine and nitroglycerin with normalization of hemodynamics within 1 h of the event. This is an unusual case where very rapid reversal of near-fatal profound pulmonary hypertension is seen without sequelae postoperatively. We are unaware of such cases in literature. Given the setting in which it occurred and its relationship to cementing of the prosthesis, we believe this was most likely due to fat embolism syndrome.

This article appears in HSS Journal: Volume 2, Number 1.
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About the HSS Journal
HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.

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