Sonographic Detection of Abdominal Free Fluid: Emergency Residents vs Radiology Residents




Background: Focused assessment with sonography for trauma (FAST) has become a part of initial examinations in trauma care at emergency departments (ED). Objectives: The goal of the present study was to evaluate the accuracy of FASTs performed by emergency residents (ER) in detection of abdominal free fluid following blunt trauma. Materials and Methods: In this study, the reports of ERs performing FASTs on 286 admitted patients following blunt trauma were compared with those of radiology residents (RR) in relation to presence of abdominal free fluid. In addition, the reports of the two resident groups were compared with the final abdominal outcome, based on the results of abdominal computed tomography (CT) and clinical follow up. Results: The ERs had reported abdominal free fluid in 20 (6.9%) patients while RRs performing FAST had positive results in 22 (7.6%) patients. The reports of FASTs revealed significant correlation between the two resident groups (P < 0.001). ERs performing FASTs had 90% sensitivity and 98.5% specificity in comparison to RRs sonography reports. Furthermore, ER-performed FASTs had 96.5% accuracy in relation to final outcome. Conclusions: Following training, ED residents can perform FAST with high accuracy and specificity, similar to RR residents, in patients with blunt abdominal trauma.