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The FAST Examination - Focused Assessment With Sonography In Trauma


The Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma is a rapid, bedside, ultrasound examination performed to identify intra-peritoneal haemorrhage or pericardial tamponade.

FAST examines four areas for free fluid:

  • Perihepatic & hepato-renal space
  • Perisplenic
  • Pelvis
  • Pericardium

FAST assessment is indicated in trauma patients who give a history of abdominal trauma, are hypotensive, or are unable to provide a reliable history because of impaired consciousness due to head injury or drugs.

FAST is an adjunct to the ATLS primary survey and therefore follows the performance of the ABCs. The ultrasound machine should be immediately available in the trauma room and its use should not interfere with the on-going assessment and management of the patient.

COPYRIGHT_SPINE: Published on https://spinal-injury.net/the-fast-examination/ by Dr. Bill Butcher on 2022-11-03T12:33:57.809Z

Small, portable ultrasound machines are now available which are highly appropriate to the trauma room environment. Standard FAST assessment is carried out using a curvilinear 2.5 or 3.5MHz probe.

How To Perform The FAST Examination

Below are the images for each stage of the FAST examination and examples of positive and negative FAST exams.

Four pictures shwing phases of the FAST examination (perihepatic, perisplenic, pelvis, and pericardium)
Four pictures shwing phases of the FAST examination (perihepatic, perisplenic, pelvis, and pericardium)
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About The Authors

Dr. Bill Butcher

Dr. Bill Butcher - With more than two decades of experience, Dr. Bill Butcher aims to provide a repository for educational materials, sources of information, details of forthcoming events, and original articles related to the medical field and about health subjects that matter to you. His goal is to help make your life better, to help you find your way when faced with healthcare decisions, and to help you feel better about your health and that of your family. Bill received his medical degree at Boston University School of Medicine and spent his entire career helping people find the health and medical information, support, and services they need. His mission is to help millions of people feel fantastic by restoring them to optimal health.

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