Objective: The aim of this article is to describe the high-resolution CT (HRCT) findings in mild cases of fat embolism syndrome (FES).
Material and methods: Nine patients with FES were examined with HRCT of the lungs (collimation, 1 mm/edge-enhancement algorithm). The median age of the patients was 26 years (range, 17 to 35 years). Five cases were included prospectively, and four cases were reviewed retrospectively. Of the major clinical criteria for FES, respiratory signs were present in six patients, CNS signs were present in two patients, and petechiae was present in six patients. HRCT patterns were recorded and analyzed. The type of injury and FES-associated clinical findings were also recorded.
Results: HRCT findings included ground-glass opacities in seven patients, associated with thickened interlobular septa in five patients and a patchy distribution resulting in a geographic appearance in four patients. A nodular pattern was observed in two patients. Resolution of the abnormalities occurred within 16.4 days (range, 7 to 25 days).
Conclusion: The HRCT findings of mild fat embolism consist of bilateral ground-glass opacities and thickening of the interlobular septa. Centrilobular nodular opacities are present in some patients.