Donor-acquired fat embolism syndrome after lung transplantation

Samuel Jacob, Andrew Courtwright, Souheil El-Chemaly, Emilian Racila, Miguel Divo, Patrick Burkett, Anne Fuhlbrigge, Hilary J. Goldberg, Ivan O. Rosas, Phillip Camp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Fat embolism is a known complication of severe trauma and closed chest cardiac resuscitation both of which are more common in the lung transplant donor population and can lead to donor-acquired fat embolism syndrome (DAFES). The objective was to review the diagnosis and management of DAFES in the lung transplantation literature and at our centre. METHODS: We performed a literature review on DAFES using the Medline database. We then reviewed the transplant record of Brigham and Women's Hospital, a large academic hospital with an active lung transplant programme, for cases of DAFES. RESULTS: We identified 2 cases of DAFES in our centre, one of which required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for successful management. In contrast to the broader literature on DAFES, which emphasizes unsuccessfully treated cases, both patients survived. CONCLUSION: DAFES is a rare but likely underappreciated early complication of lung transplant as it can mimic primary graft dysfunction. Aggressive interventions, including ECMO, may be necessary to achieve a good clinical outcome following DAFES.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberezv347
Pages (from-to)1344-1347
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2015.


  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • Fat embolism
  • Graft dysfunction
  • Lung transplantation
  • Survival


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