Portable Head Computed Tomography in the Diagnosis of Cerebral Fat Embolism Secondary to Cardiac Surgery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Background and Purpose: Cerebral fat embolism (CFE) has been diagnosed previously by both brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and dedicated head computed tomography (HCT) studies. The most commonly reported feature on CT is the presence of the “hypodense artery sign,” although the number of reported cases has been minimal to date. Methods: Report of a single case involving a 88-year-old patient who underwent cardiac surgery. Postoperatively, the patient developed right hemiparesis. Contraindications existed for performing brain MRI and dedicated head CT. Portable head CT (pHCT) was obtained. Hounsfield unit measurement was used. Results: A hypodense artery sign was visualized, and Hounsfield unit measurement indicated fat density. Diagnosis was determined to be CFE. Conclusion: This case report emphasizes that pHCT quality may be sufficient to diagnose CFE and offers a viable alternative when MRI or HCT is contraindicated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-155
Number of pages2
JournalThe Neurohospitalist
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • cerebral fat embolism
  • imaging
  • stroke and cerebrovascular disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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