While fat embolism occurs in most (more than 90%) patients with traumatic injury, the fat embolism syndrome (FES) occurs in only 3%-4% of patients with long-bone fractures. FES involves multiple organ systems and can cause a devastating clinical deterioration within hours. The major clinical features of FES include hypoxia, pulmonary edema, central nervous system depression, and axillary or subconjunctive petechiae. Improvements have been made in supporting the respiratory compromise and adult respiratory distress syndrome that these patients develop. Aggressive measures to improve the pulmonary function, i.e., positive pressure ventilation and effective fluid management, are important and expedite fixation of bone fractures.

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