Blunt abdominal trauma (BAT) is a diagnostic challenge. The introduction of bedside ultrasound provides another diagnostic tool for the emergency physician (EP) to detect intra-abdominal injuries.
To assess the benefits of FAST in the evaluation of patients with blunt abdominal trauma in the emergency department of Kirkuk General Hospital in Kirkuk.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
This was a prospective study including100 consecutive cases of blunt abdominal trauma in the emergency department of Kirkuk General Hospital in Kirkuk. The results of FAST scans were analyzed and compared with operative findings, diagnostic laparoscopy and CT scanning when the FAST was positive or followed by a period of clinical observation when the FAST was negative. Descriptive statistics, sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values were calculated.
There was a 100 consecutive blunt abdominal trauma cases during 9 months period, and FAST scans were performed in these cases. The sensitivity and specificity were 92% and 93.3%, respectively. The negative predictive value was 0.97, while the overall accuracy was 93%.
The high specificity of FAST (93.3%) makes it a good ‘rule in’ tool for BAT patients. The high negative predictive value also makes the FAST scan a useful screening tool. However, ultrasound examination is operator dependent, and FAST scan has its own limitations.