Fat Embolism Syndrome following minor trauma in Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Neuromuscul Disord. 2012 Dec;22(12):1035-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2012.07.010. Epub 2012 Aug 21.


We describe five patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who presented with acute neurologic and respiratory symptoms following minor trauma. Four of the five deteriorated rapidly and died within 36 h after falling. X-rays for fractures were negative. Four of the five patients were taking corticosteroids daily. All five patients fulfilled the clinical criteria for Fat Embolism Syndrome. Autopsy findings were consistent with fat embolism in two cases. Fat Embolism Syndrome needs to be considered in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy following minor trauma even without fractures. Early recognition of Fat Embolism Syndrome and aggressive resuscitation are important to improve survival. This report serves as an important reminder that seatbelts need to be used at all times.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Autopsy
  • Embolism, Fat / diagnosis
  • Embolism, Fat / etiology*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / complications*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / diagnosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*
  • Young Adult


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones