What is the role of patent foramen ovale in the pathophysiology of fat embolism syndrome (FES)?

Updated: Mar 26, 2018
  • Author: Constantine S Bulauitan, MD; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
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Answer

Approximately 20-30% of the population have a patent foramen ovale; this may explain how fat emboli that pass through the pulmonary circulation end up with systemic manifestations of FES, particularly involving the brain and kidneys. As a result of the occluded cerebral vasculature, patients exhibit gross encephalopathy, localized cerebral edema, and white-matter changes. [6, 8, 9]


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