An excessive amount of fat globules in the lungs of an elderly woman probably led to her death after undergoing liposuction, the Coroner's Court heard yesterday. Senior pathologist Wong Hon-man, who carried out an autopsy on Lam King-fong, 70, said that a fat embolism syndrome killed the piano teacher, who had died on the way to hospital on August 8, 2003, following the surgery. She was having fat removed from her abdomen. A fat embolism syndrome occurs when globules either block the arteries, or enter the bloodstream and may be carried to other parts of the body, including the heart. 'In this case, an excessive amount of fat globules was found in the lungs ... The deceased was under anaesthesia, so her lung function was in a vulnerable state as the drug might suppress the respiratory function,' Dr Wong said. But the pathologist described the condition as 'extremely rare'. Cyrus Kumana, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics professor at the University of Hong Kong, contradicted earlier testimony that Lam died of an overdose. He said only a small amount of drugs was given by plastic surgeon Franklin Li Wang-pong, who carried out the liposuction. He said it was 'speculative to conclude that the patient succumbed from oversedation resulting from overdosage. This fat embolism syndrome could have caused the death, even though such an outcome is rarely associated with plastic surgery and the timing appears unusual'. Coroner Peter White adjourned his ruling until today. Mr White also said he planned to make recommendations. This may include asking nurses to take a complete medical history of a patient before surgery is carried out.