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

December 07, 2007

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 ACEP's 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.
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To download a copy of Guideline for the Performance of the FAST Examination, visit the AIUM website at www.aium.org or the ACEP website at www.acep.org.

ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine with more than 26,000 members. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.

The AIUM is a multidisciplinary association dedicated to advancing the safe and effective use of ultrasound in medicine through professional and public education, research, development of guidelines, and accreditation. The AIUM's members include physicians and sonographers from varying specialties, scientists, and engineers. The AIUM has established standards for the accreditation of ultrasound practices that serve as a benchmark for professionals seeking to meet nationally accepted protocols for performing ultrasound related examinations. Practices accredited by the AIUM have demonstrated competency in every aspect of their operation.

American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine

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