From FAST to E-FAST: an overview of the evolution of ultrasound-based traumatic injury assessment

Eur J Trauma Emerg Surg. 2016 Apr;42(2):119-26. doi: 10.1007/s00068-015-0512-1. Epub 2015 Mar 14.


Ultrasound is a ubiquitous and versatile diagnostic tool. In the setting of acute injury, ultrasound enhances the basic trauma evaluation, influences bedside decision-making, and helps determine whether or not an unstable patient requires emergent procedural intervention. Consequently, continued education of surgeons and other acute care practitioners in performing focused emergency ultrasound is of great importance. This article provides a synopsis of focused assessment with sonography for trauma (FAST) and the extended FAST (E-FAST) that incorporates basic thoracic injury assessment. The authors also review key pitfalls, limitations, controversies, and advances related to FAST, E-FAST, and ultrasound education.

Keywords: Abdominal trauma; FAST; Pneumothorax; Point-of-care testing; Thoracic trauma; Ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Decision-Making
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Humans
  • Point-of-Care Systems / trends
  • Symptom Assessment / methods
  • Ultrasonography* / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography* / methods
  • Ultrasonography* / trends
  • Wounds and Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Wounds and Injuries* / diagnostic imaging