A prospective study of surgeon-performed ultrasound as the primary adjuvant modality for injured patient assessment.

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Ultrasound diagnostic imaging, having been used in Germany in the trauma setting for more than 15 years, has unique qualities that give it distinct advantages over other tests (DPL, CT), and is gradually gaining acceptance by surgeons in the United States. In this prospective study, experienced surgeon sonographers successfully used ultrasound as the primary adjuvant modality to detect hemoperitoneum and pericardial effusion in injured patients. The ultrasound evaluations of 371 patients demonstrated that in 65 patients with significant injuries, ultrasound detected 53, that is, had an 81.5% sensitivity and 99.7% specificity. They conclude that ultrasound should be the primary adjuvant instrument for the evaluation of injured patients because it is rapid, accurate, and is potentially cost-effective.

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