Bilateral femoral shaft fractures complicated by fat and pulmonary embolism: A case report

Filippo Randelli, Paolo Capitani, Fabrizio Pace, Sara Favilla, Claudio Galante, Pietro Randelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 25-year-old man was admitted to our hospital because of pulmonary embolism and suspected fat embolism after sustaining bilateral femoral shaft fracture. A left arm weakness, tachycardia and sudden hemoglobin drop delayed his definitive fixation with intramedullary nailing. His clinical course was further complicated by bleeding from the pin sites of the external fixators which had initially been used to temporarily stabilize his femoral fractures (clotting disturbances). A lower leg Doppler ultrasound and a new pelvic-chest CT angiography excluded any remaining thrombus, meanwhile the embolus had broken in smaller pieces, more distally. His unfractionated heparin was revised to a Low Molecular Weight Heparin at prophylactic dose. After a 10 day period and when his condition had been improved bilateral reamed nailing was performed. Although bilateral closed femoral shaft fractures should be stabilized early, fat embolism syndrome (FES) and thromboembolic events (TEV) should always be kept in mind in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S28-S30
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • bilateral femoral shaft fractures
  • damage control orthopedics
  • deep venous thrombosis (DVT)
  • fat embolism syndrome (FES)
  • pulmonary embolism (PE)
  • venous thromboembolism (VTE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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