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Prospective Evaluation of Handheld Ultrasound in the Diagnosis of Blunt Abdominal Trauma
  1. Capt A Brooks, FRCS RAMC(V), Specialist Registrar1,
  2. Dr B Davies2 and
  3. Mr J Connolly2
  1. 1General Surgery Dept of Surgery Queens Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham, NG72 O1H adam.brooks{at}
  2. 2Dept of Surgery and Accident & Emergency Queens Medical Centre, University Hospital, Nottingham, NG7 2UH


Objectives To evaluate the Sonosite 180 handheld ultrasound in the diagnosis of haemoperitoneum in blunt abdominal trauma.

Methods Trauma ultrasound using the Focused Assessment with Sonar for Trauma (FAST) technique was performed using the Sonosite 180 handheld ultrasound during the primary survey of adult patients triaged to the resuscitation room with multiple trauma or suspected abdominal injury. The ultrasound findings were compared against the investigation of choice of the attending surgeon/accident & emergency physician - CT, DPL, laparotomy or clinical observation.

Results 50 patients who had sustained blunt abdominal trauma were evaluated using FAST. Satisfactory images were obtained in 96%. There were 5 true positive scans confirmed by CT, DPL or laparotomy. There were no false negative or false investigations. The sensitivity and specificity of handheld FAST was 100%.

Conclusions Handheld ultrasound using the Sonosite 180 system can be successfully used by appropriately trained doctors as the primary investigation in the acute evaluation of blunt abdominal trauma.

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