Accuracy of Extended Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma (e-FAST) Performed by Emergency Medicine Residents in a Level One Tertiary Center of India
Introduction: It could be claimed that extended focused assessment with sonography for trauma (e-FAST) is the most important use of ultrasound in every emergency department (ED). It is a rapid, repeatable, non-invasive bedside method that was designed to answer one single question, which is, “whether free fluid is present in the peritoneal, pleural and pericardial cavity or not?” This examination may also be used to evaluate the lungs for pneumothorax. Objective: The current comparative study was conducted to assess the accuracy and reproducibility of e-FAST performed by emergency medicine residents (EMRs) and radiology consultants (RCs) in multiple trauma patients. Method: This diagnostic accuracy study was conducted prospectively in patients presenting over a period of 12 months from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2013 to the ED of Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), Kerala, India. All multiple trauma patients older than 18 years of age presenting within 24 hours of their traumatic event, who underwent both e-FAST and thoracoabdominal computed tomography (CT) scan were included. The e-FAST exams were first performed by the EMRs and then by RCs. The thoracoabdominal CT scan findings were considered as the gold standard. The results were compared between both groups to assess the inter-observer variability. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and accuracy were calculated both for EMRs and RCs. Results: In the study period, 150 patients with a mean age of 42.06 ± 18.1 years were evaluated (76.7% male). Only 19 cases (12.7%) had a history of fall from a height, and the others were admitted due to RTA. Thirty-four cases (22.7%) did not require surgery; but the others underwent various interventions. Both EMRs and RCs reported positive findings in 20 cases (13.3%) and negative findings in 130 cases (86.7%). The correlation of e-FAST done by EMRs with that by RCs was 100%. E-FAST exam had a sensitivity of 90.4%, specificity 99.2%, PPV 95.0%, NPV 98.4%, and accuracy 98%, both for EMRs and RCs. Conclusion: Based on the findings, the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of e-FAST exams performed by EMRs were equal to those performed by RCs. It seems that e-FAST performed by EMRs were almost accurate during the initial trauma resuscitation in the ED of a level one trauma center in India.
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