Early Detection of Hemoperitoneum by Ultrasound Examination of the Right Upper Quadrant: A Multicenter Study

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The focused assessment for the sonographic examination of the trauma patient (FAST) is a rapid diagnostic test that sequentially surveys for hemopericardium and then the right upper quadrant (RUQ), left upper quadrant (LUQ), and pelvis for hemoperitoneum in patients with potential truncal injuries. The sequence of the abdominal part of the examination, however, has yet to be validated. The objectives of this multicenter study were as follows: (1) to determine where hemoperitoneum is most frequently identified on positive FAST examinations; and (2) to determine if a relationship exists between that areas and the organs injured.


Ultrasound registries from four Level I trauma centers identified patients who had true-positive FAST examinations. Demographic data, areas positive on the FAST, and organs injured were recorded; injuries were classified as multiple, single solid organ (liver or spleen), isolated hollow viscus, or retroperitoneal. Relationships between positive locations on the FAST examinations and the associations of organs injured to areas positive were assessed using McNamara's chi squared test; a p value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


The RUQ was the most common site where hemoperitoneum was detected, and this was statistically significant compared with either the LUQ or the pelvis. Also, statistically significant correlations (p < 0.001) were observed between positive RUQ areas on the FAST and multiple injuries, single solid organ (liver or spleen) injury, and retroperitoneal injuries.


Blood is most often found on the FAST in the RUQ area in patients with multiple intraperitoneal injuries or isolated injury to the liver, spleen, or retroperitoneum, but not when there is injury to a hollow viscus.

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