Fat embolism syndrome is a life-threatening condition that can develop after orthopedic injury and surgery. This syndrome developed in a 19-year-old man after a traumatic femoral fracture that was surgically repaired with intramedullary nailing. The complications experienced by the patient highlight the importance of prevention and early detection of fat embolism syndrome. Although minimization of the syndrome focuses primarily on prehospital care and early stabilization of a patient’s condition, prevention of the potential consequences requires early detection by bedside nurses who care for trauma and orthopedic patients. Detailed nursing assessment and rapid recognition and reporting of the signs and symptoms associated with fat embolism syndrome are key to improving the outcomes of these patients.

You do not currently have access to this content.