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AIUM and ACEP publish guidelines for performing emergency trauma ultrasound -- the FAST exam

The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) officially announced today that they will publish jointly the Guideline for the Performance of the FAST (Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma) Examination.

The FAST examination is a proven and useful procedure for the evaluation of the injured patient immediately during resuscitation to detect large abnormal fluid collections or other collections that need immediate treatment. Prior to its use, more invasive procedures, including surgery, were required to evaluate trauma patients.

With the growing use of the FAST examination to evaluate trauma patients in hospital emergency rooms, pre-hospital situations, military locations, and disaster areas, the AIUM and ACEP joined forces to create guidelines to provide assistance to emergency medical practitioners and to promote high-quality ultrasound examinations.

Created with expert input from both traditional and emergency physician ultrasound experts, the FAST guideline includes indications for performing the examination, qualifications and responsibilities of the performing physician, specifications for individual examinations, documentation requirements, equipment specifications, quality control, and safety standards.

The FAST examination is now taught to more than 95% of emergency medicine residents and included in Advanced Trauma Life Support, a training program for doctors in the management of acute trauma cases. The FAST examination is widely accepted as the standard of care for the initial assessment and treatment in trauma centers.

Vivek Tayal, MD, FACEP, Chair of the ACEP Section of Emergency Ultrasound and member of the AIUM, commented that the joint Guideline for the Performance of the FAST Examination will help the FAST examination gain further national and international prominence.

The FAST Guideline reinforces ACEPs ultrasound imaging criteria, said Dr. Tayal. In addition, the FAST examination, an emergency department focused, bedside ultrasound examination, gains further national and international prominence by its formal acceptance by AIUM, a national, multispecialty organization.

Because ultrasound is utilized by so many medical specialty groups, the future use of this technology lies in working collaboratively with other societies to develop uniform guidelines for performing ultrasound examinations, said Joshua Copel, MD, AIUM President.


Contact: Stacey Batchellor
American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine

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