The accuracy of focused assessment with sonography in trauma (FAST) in blunt trauma patients: experience of an Australian major trauma service

Injury. 2007 Jan;38(1):71-5. doi: 10.1016/j.injury.2006.03.004.


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.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / methods
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Hemoperitoneum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hemoperitoneum / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / standards
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Trauma Centers
  • Ultrasonography
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / etiology