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Liposuction-induced fat embolism syndrome
  1. Colby A Cantu⇑,
  2. Elizabeth N Pavlisko
  1. Department of Pathology, Duke University Hospital, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Colby A Cantu, colby.cantu{at}

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Three days after undergoing an elective liposuction procedure, a 60-year-old woman presented to her local emergency department with shortness of breath and lethargy.

Physical examination was remarkable for abdominal distention, bilateral lower extremity swelling and hypoxaemia. Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) trial was initiated but it was unable to sustain adequate oxygen saturation; consequently, the patient was intubated and mechanically ventilated. Pulmonary thromboembolism was suspected, but a chest CT scan was contraindicated due to acutely poor kidney function. Therefore, …

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  • Contributors CAC and ENP were involved in the clinical care of the patient. Each contributed towards the collection of relevant data and images, drafting of the

    manuscript and revision of the paper.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Consent obtained from next of kin.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.