What is the role of transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) in the diagnosis of fat embolism?

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

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) may be of use in evaluating the intraoperative release of marrow contents into the bloodstream during intramedullary reaming and nailing. The density of the echogenic material passing through the right side of the heart correlates with the degree of reduction in arterial oxygen saturation.

Repeated showers of emboli on TEE have been noted to increase right heart and pulmonary artery pressures. Embolization of marrow contents through a patent foramen ovale also has been noted. However, evidence of embolization obtained by means of TEE is not correlated with the actual development of FES.


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