Utilization of FAST (Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma) in 1999: Results of a Survey of North American Trauma Centers

Boulanger, Bernard R.; Kearney, Paul A.; Tsuei, B.; Ochoa, Juan; Brenneman, Frederick D.
November 2000
American Surgeon;Nov2000, Vol. 66 Issue 11, p1049
Academic Journal
Although much has been written about FAST (Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma) in the last decade little is known about its present clinical utilization. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and characterize the contemporary utilization of FAST at trauma centers in the United States and Canada. In 1999 trauma directors or their delegates at Level I regional trauma centers in the United States and Canada were surveyed either by fax or phone regarding the present utilization and the future of FAST at their center. The overall survey response rate was 91 per cent with 96 of 105 centers completing the survey. Of the 96 centers surveyed 78 were in the United States and 18 were in Canada. Of the 78 U.S. centers surveyed 62 (79%) routinely use FAST, and it is done by surgeons in 39 per cent, surgeons and emergency departments in 21 per cent, emergency departments in 5 per cent, and radiologists in 35 per cent. Most centers (79%) thought that it sped up their workups, and 89 per cent said it was an advance in patient care. FAST is used in penetrating injury at 58 per cent of centers, and some centers use FAST to assess organ injury. The utilization of diagnostic peritoneal lavage and CT has markedly decreased at many centers. Almost all respondents thought that FAST should be a component of surgery resident training. The utilization of FAST is significantly less in Canada than in the United States (P < 0.05). Our conclusions are the following. FAST has become routinely used at the majority of the U.S. centers surveyed. FAST is performed by clinicians at 65 per cent of the trauma centers surveyed. The utilization of CT and diagnostic peritoneal lavage has changed. Many centers have broadened the scope of FAST to include the assessment of organ, pediatric, and penetrating injury.


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