Diagnostic accuracy of the Extended Focused Abdominal Sonography for Trauma (E-FAST) performed by emergency physicians compared to CT

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Abstract

Introduction

The diagnostic accuracy of the FAST exam performed by EM residents were shown to be similar to radiology residents. However, in the last 2 decades, an extended-FAST (E-FAST) protocol including thoracic examination to exclude pneumo- and hemothorax was introduced. The accuracy of emergency physicians (EPs) while performing E-FAST is a less studied area, especially in Europe. The aim of this study was to compare the diagnostic accuracy of the E-FAST exam performed by EM residents with the results of CT scan as a gold standard.

Methods

This was a prospective, observational, diagnostic accuracy study conducted at the ED of a Level 1 Trauma Center. All consecutive adult multiple trauma patients were eligible, and any patient in whom thoraco-abdominal CT was ordered were recruited. Unstable and unavailable patients were excluded. E-FAST examination was performed by EPs as the index test, and CT examinations reported by a blinded academic radiology faculty was the gold standard.

Results

A total of 140 patients were recruited from eligible 144 patients. The final study population was 132 for abdominal and 130 for thorax examinations. In this study, AUC of E-FAST was 0.71 for abdominal free fluid, 0.87 for pneumothorax and 1.00 for pleural effusion. The sensitivity was 42.9% and specificity was 98.4%. The + LR for abdominal free fluid was 26.8 and − LR was 0.58.

Conclusion

E-FAST examination has an excellent specificity. However, the sensitivity of the test is not high enough to rule-out thoraco-abdominal injuries in trauma patients when performed by EPs.

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