ACEP, AIUM publish ultrasound guideline

The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) in Laurel, MD, and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in Irving, TX, have jointly published the Guideline for the Performance of the FAST (Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma) Examination.

According to the organizations, 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. Before its use, more invasive procedures, including surgery, were required to evaluate trauma patients. Use of the FAST examination to evaluate trauma patients is growing in hospital emergency departments, pre-hospital situations, military locations, and disaster areas.

AIUM and ACEP joined forces to create a guideline that will provide assistance to emergency medical practitioners and promote high-quality ultrasound examinations. FAST 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 widely accepted as the standard of care for the initial assessment and treatment in trauma centers. It 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 guideline reinforces ACEP's ultrasound imaging criteria," said Vivek Tayal, MD, FACEP, chair of the ACEP Section of Emergency Ultrasound and member of the AIUM, in a prepared statement. "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."

Copies of Guideline for the Performance of the FAST Examination are available by going to www.aium.org. On the left side of the page, click "Practice Guidelines." On the next page, click the pull-down menu, and then click on "FAST."