BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the variability of clinician-performed Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) examinations and its impact on abdominal computed tomography (AbCT) use in hemodynamically stable children with blunt torso trauma (BTT). The FAST is used with variable frequency in children with BTT. METHODS: We performed a planned secondary analysis of children (<18 years) with BTT. Patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of less than 9, those with hypotension, and those taken directly to the operating suite were excluded. Clinicians documented their suspicion for intra-abdominal injury (IAI) as very low, less than 1%; low, 1% to 5%; moderate, 6% to 10%; high, 11% to 50%; or very high, greater than 50%. We determined the relative risk (RR) for AbCT use based on undergoing a FAST examination in each of these clinical suspicion strata. RESULTS: Of 6,468 (median age, 11.8 years; interquartile range, 6.3-15.5 years) children who met eligibility, 887 (13.7%) underwent FAST examination before CT scan. A total of 3,015 (46.6%) underwent AbCT scanning, and 373 (5.8%) were diagnosed with IAI. Use of the FAST increased as clinician suspicion for IAI increased, 11.0% with less than 1% suspicion for IAI, 13.5% with 1% to 5% suspicion, 20.5% with 6% to 10% suspicion, 23.2% with 11% to 50% suspicion, and 30.7% with greater than 50% suspicion. The patients in whom the clinicians had a suspicion of IAI of 1% to 5% or 6% to 10% were significantly less likely to undergo a CT scan if a FAST examination was performed: RR, 0.83 (0.67-1.03); RR, 0.81 (0.72-0.91); RR, 0.85 (0.78-0.94); RR, 0.99 (0.94-1.05); and RR, 0.97 (0.91-1.05) for patients with clinician suspicion of IAI of less than 1%, 1% to 5%, 6% to 10%, 11% to 50%, and greater than 50%, respectively. CONCLUSION: The FAST examination is used in a relatively small percentage of children with BTT. Use increases as clinician suspicion for IAI increases. Patients with a low or moderate clinician suspicion of IAI are less likely to undergo AbCT if they receive a FAST examination. A randomized controlled trial is required to more precisely determine the benefits and drawbacks of the FAST examination in the evaluation of children with BTT. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Prognostic and epidemiologic study, II.
- FAST examination
- Intra-abdominal injury
- pediatric trauma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine