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Iowa Orthop J. 2010;30:211-4.

Transesophageal echocardiography for detection of propagating, massive emboli during prosthetic hip fracture surgery.

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  • 1Division of Anesthesia Services, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA.


Fat embolus has been known to occur during major orthopedic surgery. In many cases, fat embolus syndrome is a postoperative complication of long bone orthopedic surgery, particularly femoral fractures occurring after trauma. Changes in intraoperative cardiopulmonary function have been reported in a subset of these patients, and they are associated with the degree of embolization occurring with manipulation or cementing of prostheses in the fractured femur. Intraoperative cardiovascular collapse has been reported, and this cardiac event is temporally associated with intramedullary manipulations such as reaming or cementing. We present a rare case of fatal intraoperative fat embolization diagnosed with trans-esophageal echocardiography.

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