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PULMONARY AND CEREBRAL FAT EMBOLISM FOLLOWING INTRAVENOUS ADMINISTRATION OF ETHER THERAPEUTICALLY

LOUIS LICHTENSTEIN, M.D.; SYDNEY SEWALL, M.D.
JAMA. 1948;136(12):827-828. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.72890290001005.
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The administration of ether intravenously for the nonsurgical treatment of impending ischemic gangrene has recently been advocated1 as a safe procedure that promotes collateral circulation and affords relief from severe pain. Specifically, the advocates of this method of treatment for peripheral vascular disease recommend the daily infusion of 2 1/2 per cent ether in a liter of isotonic solution of sodium chloride or (for hypertensive patients) dextrose for twelve consecutive days, followed after two days rest by a second course. Some of the complications encountered in carrying out this regimen have already been pointed out by Wirtschafter and Widmann.2 The purpose of this report is to direct attention to another serious complication. In the first case in which the method indicated was employed at this hospital,3 a fatality ensued during the course of treatment, which autopsy showed to have resulted from fat embolism. Inasmuch as the therapeutic regimen

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