Delayed coma in head injury: Consider cerebral fat embolism

Zwany Metting*, Lars A Rödiger, Joost G Regtien, Joukje van der Naalt

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

15 Citaten (Scopus)


Objective: To describe a case of a young man with delayed coma after mild head injury, suggestive of cerebral fat embolism (CFE). To underline the value of MR imaging in the differential diagnosis of secondary deterioration in mild head injury.

Case report: A 21-year-old man admitted with mild head injury after a fall with facial fractures and long bone fractures. He was admitted to the intensive care unit and was mechanically ventilated. Weaning was not possible because of desaturations and pulmonary congestion. Low platelet count and anaemia developed. On several time points during his admission cerebral imaging data were obtained. Non-contrast CT on admission was normal while follow-up MRI showed extensive white matter abnormalities. These imaging abnormalities combined with the clinical presentation suggests cerebral fat embolism (CFE) as the most likely cause of secondary deterioration in our patient.

Conclusions: In head injured patients with long bone fractures one should consider cerebral fat embolism. When the classical clinical syndrome is not present, MR imaging is warranted for diagnosis and to exclude other causes of secondary deterioration. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)597-600
Aantal pagina's4
TijdschriftClinical neurology and neurosurgery
Nummer van het tijdschrift7
StatusPublished - sep.-2009

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