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Pediatr Neurol. 2014 Sep;51(3):410-3. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2014.04.025. Epub 2014 Apr 28.

High-dose rosuvastatin treatment for multifocal stroke in trauma-induced cerebral fat embolism syndrome: a case report.

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Department of Pediatric Critical Care, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. Electronic address:
Department of Neurology, Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington.
Department of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, Washington.



Fat embolism syndrome is a life-threatening condition with treatment centering on the provision of excellent supportive care and early fracture fixation. No pharmacologic intervention has yet shown any clear benefit. We used high-dose rosuvastatin specifically for its anti-inflammatory effects to treat a patient with severe fat embolism syndrome. We also suggest that magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial Doppler studies are helpful in establishing the diagnosis and for monitoring the patient's course.


A 17-year-old boy developed severe cerebral fat embolism syndrome with multifocal strokes after sustaining bilateral femur fractures.


In spite of profound and prolonged neurological impairment, our patient experienced dramatic recovery by the time he was discharged from inpatient rehabilitation several weeks after his initial injury. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed the classic "starfield" pattern of infarcts on diffusion-weighted sequences early in the illness. Additionally, serial transcranial Doppler studies demonstrated dramatically elevated microembolic events that resolved completely during the course of treatment.


We feel that the acute administration of high-dose rosuvastatin early in the development of our patient's illness may have contributed to his ultimate recovery. Therapeutic guidelines cannot be extrapolated from a single patient, but our experience suggests that statin therapy could be potentially beneficial for individuals with severe fat embolism syndrome, and this approach deserves further clinical evaluation. Additionally, the diagnosis and monitoring of cerebral involvement in fat embolism syndrome is facilitated by both magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial Doppler studies.


anti-inflammatory; cerebral fat embolism; fat embolism syndrome; statin; stroke

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