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Emergency Medicine International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 678380, 7 pages
Research Article

Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma and Abdominal Computed Tomography Utilization in Adult Trauma Patients: Trends over the Last Decade

1Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA
2Division of Emergency Ultrasound, Department of Emergency Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA
3Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA

Received 4 July 2013; Accepted 29 July 2013

Academic Editor: Raoul Breitkreutz

Copyright © 2013 Alexander Y. Sheng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. We sought to describe the trend in abdominal CT use in adult trauma patients after a point-of-care emergency ultrasound program was introduced. We hypothesized that abdominal CT use would decrease as FAST use increased. Methods. We performed a retrospective study of 19940 consecutive trauma patients over the age of 18 admitted to our level one trauma center from 2002 through 2011. Data was collected retrospectively and recorded in a trauma registry. We plotted the rate of FAST and abdominal CT utilization over time. Head CT was used as a surrogate for overall CT utilization rates during the study period. Results. Use of FAST increased by an average of 2.3% (95% CI 2.1 to 2.5, ) while abdominal CT use decreased by the same rate annually. The percentage of patients who received FAST as the sole imaging modality for the abdomen rose from 2.0% to 21.9% while those who only received an abdominal CT dropped from 21.7% to 2.3%. Conclusions. Abdominal CT use in our cohort declined while FAST utilization grew in the last decade. The rising use of FAST may have played a role in the reduction of abdominal CT performed as decline in CT utilization appears contrary to overall trends.