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Diagnostic value of a hand-carried ultrasound device for free intra-abdominal fluid and organ lacerations in major trauma patients

Abstract

Background Technological progress has led to the introduction of hand-carried ultrasound (HCU) imagers in clinical workflow. The aim of this study is to analyse whether examination with a HCU device is a rapid and reliable alternative to contrast-enhanced multidetector CT (MDCT) scans in diagnosis of free intra-abdominal fluid and organ lacerations in major trauma patients.

Methods 31 major trauma patients with an injury severity score >15 and the necessity of a MDCT scan (standard of reference) were enrolled prospectively to this study, and additionally examined with a HCU, according to ‘focused assessment with sonography for trauma’ principles for the assessment of organ lacerations and free intra-abdominal fluid. The HCU device employed was of the latest generation. Statistical analysis was performed using PASW V.18.

Results Four patients were diagnosed with free intra-abdominal fluid (prevalence 12.9%). HCU showed a sensitivity and specificity of 75% and 100%, respectively. Positive predictive value and negative predictive value were 100% and 96%, respectively. Five patients had organ lacerations (prevalence 16.1%). In these cases, the HCU was able to detect organ lacerations with a sensitivity and specificity of 80% and 100%, respectively. Therefore, a positive predictive value and negative predictive value of 100% and 96%, respectively, were calculated.

Conclusion In major trauma patients, examination with HCU according to the ‘focused assessment with sonography for trauma’ principles for the diagnosis of organ lacerations and free intra-abdominal fluid is a reliable and rapid alternative to MDCT scans and can help save precious time in emergency situations, and should, additionally, be evaluated in the pre-clinical workflow.

  • Diagnosis
  • major trauma
  • ultrasound
  • hand-carried ultrasound
  • free intra-abdominal fluid
  • organ laceration
  • pre-hospital care
  • abdomen
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