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Pulmonary Fat EmbolismA Prospective Study within the Forensic Autopsy Collective of the Republic of Iceland


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Christian Jackowski, M.D.

Institute of Forensic Medicine

University of Bern

Bühlstrasse 20

3012 Bern




In the last century, studies established the origin of pulmonary fat embolism (PFE) and identified mechanical trauma as main source for PFE. This prospective study focused on determining a possible influence of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), in the context of an aging population, on the occurrence of PFE. Lung tissue samples from 256 bodies were examined using the twin-edged knife technique without preliminary fixation but after staining with Sudan III. PFE grading was determined according to Falzi and performed at a 10× magnification. For statistical analysis, bodies were grouped by age, gender, and putrefaction and categorized following whether they had experienced trauma, CPR, the combination of both, or no mechanical impact. There was a significant correlation of trauma, CPR, and the combination of both to PFE but no noticeable influence of gender or putrefaction. An age over 70 years promotes a PFE due to resuscitation.