Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Capstone Semester

Fall 2023

Date of Graduation



Blunt trauma is a common reason patients present to the emergency department. Providers must evaluate these patients quickly to get them the correct treatment, especially for intra-abdominal bleeding. Focused assessment with sonography for trauma (FAST) exams are growing in use to evaluate trauma patients for free fluid in the abdomen. To be valuable to emergency providers, it must be known how FAST exams compare to the gold standard evaluation, computed tomography (CT) scans. Searches were done on Pubmed and Scopus databases using terms “focused assessment with sonography for trauma” and “FAST exam CT blunt abdominal trauma.” Limits were added to only include studies on adults in English, with each FAST being confirmed by CT. The results revealed an average sensitivity and specificity for FAST exams as 54.8% and 92.3% respectively across three quality studies. It can be concluded that positive FAST exams can be used to rule in free fluid in the abdomen, but negative FAST exams must be confirmed by CT scans. Positive FAST exams can reduce the time for a hemodynamically unstable patient to be taken for surgery. In the future, more research must be done to prospectively evaluate FAST exams and to develop training programs for emergency providers.

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