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  • September 2006

    Benefits of Ultrasonography in Trauma Patients

    Annals of Emergency Medicine | Lawrence A. Melniker et al.


    Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of Point-of-Care, Limited Ultrasonography for Trauma in the Emergency Department: The First Sonography Outcomes Assessment Program Trial


    Lawrence A. Melniker, MD, MS, Evan Leibner, MD, Mark G. McKenney, MD, Peter Lopez, MD, William M. Briggs, PhD, Carol A. Mancuso, MD


    Annals of Emergency Medicine, September 2006, Vol. 48, No. 3


    A good deal of research exists demonstrating both the sensitivity and efficiency of focused assessment with sonography for trauma (FAST) examination. According to Melniker et al, FAST “is sensitive for the presence of free peritoneal and pleural fluid and…nonradiologists can perform the examination quickly and accurately at the bedside.” There is, however, considerably less information pertaining to FAST and whether or not it improves patient outcomes.

    This 2-center, prospective, randomized trial examined how FAST affected door-to-operative-care time in 217 patients for whom there was a concern of torso trauma. Secondary outcome measures included use of computed tomography (CT).

    The authors found that patients randomized to FAST had a 64% shorter time to operative care and had fewer CT examinations of the torso. According to researchers, “This study provides evidence that FAST may speed operative care and reduce the use of studies dependent on ionizing radiation.”

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