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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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