Focused assessment with sonography for trauma (FAST) is a method for detecting haemoperitoneum in trauma patients on initial assessment in the Emergency Department. The aim of this paper is to present an Australian trauma centre's experience with FAST as a tool to screen for intraabdominal free fluid in patient's sustaining blunt truncal trauma.
Method: Over a 63-month period, FAST scans were prospectively studied and compared with findings from a gold-standard investigation, either computed tomography (CT) or laparotomy.
Results: 463 FAST results were collected prospectively from 463 patients. 53 scans were excluded due to lack of a corresponding confirmatory gold-standard test. Overall sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values for FAST in detecting free fluid were 78%, 97%, 91%, 93%, respectively. Analysis of the credentialed operators demonstrated an improvement in accuracy (sensitivity 80%, specificity 100%, positive predictive value 100%, negative predictive value 94%). These findings are comparable with documented international experience.
Conclusion: The study demonstrates that the use of non-radiologist performed FAST in the detection of free fluid is safe and accurate within an Australian Trauma Centre.