FAST action is helping save lives
Ultrasound technology is helping save lives by enabling paramedics to quickly detect and diagnose internal injuries in patients before arriving at hospital.
Pre-hospital Focused Abdominal Sonogram for Trauma (FAST) is being used by Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital Emergency Department and the Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) to improve outcomes for trauma patients.
(FAST) is the use of ultrasound by Emergency Rapid Response teams as part of an initial assessment of patients with blunt or penetrating trauma.
Paramedics use a portable ultrasound to detect the presence of internal bleeding or injury and phone ahead to the hospital Emergency Department with results of the scan. Emergency staff conduct an additional scan on the patient’s arrival to hospital. Emergency physicians are then able to fast track the patient for treatment or surgery, reducing waiting times, which can be critical for badly injured patients.
Since implementation of pre-hospital FAST by RBWH emergency physicians five years ago, patient outcomes have improved and lives have been saved.
Current research funded by the Queensland Emergency Medicine Research Foundation aims to compare the accuracy of scans conducted by paramedics in the field with those done in hospital. Emergency Physician Dr Daniel Bodnar and QAS Medical Director Dr Stephen Rashford say the research has confirmed the scans conducted by paramedics in the field are on par with the hospital scans for critically injured patients.
Pre-hospital FAST made all the difference to patient Tony Kynn when his horse delivered an unexpected kick to the abdomen, rupturing his spleen.
Tony shared his experience with Seven News.