information repository image repository discussion group interactive trauma professional resources about search directory related sites new content




The FAST examination


The Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma is a rapid, bedside, ultrasound examination performed to identify intra-peritoneal haemorrhage or pericardial tamponade.

FAST examines four areas for free fluid:

  • Perihepatic & hepato-renal space
  • Perisplenic
  • Pelvis
  • Pericardium

Trauma Ultrasonography

-  Perisplenic
-  Pelvis
-  Pericardium
How good is FAST?
Thoracic Ultrasound

FAST assessment is indicated in trauma patients who give a history of abdominal trauma, are hypotensive, or are unable to provide a reliable history because of impaired consciousness due to head injury or drugs. FAST is an adjunct to the ATLS primary survey and therefore follows the performance of the ABCs. The ultrasound machine should be immediately available in the trauma room and its use should not interfere with the on-going assessment and management of the patient.

Small, portable ultrasound machines are now available which are highly appropriate to the trauma room environment. Standard FAST assessment is carried out using a curvilinear 2.5 or 3.5MHz probe.

How to perform the FAST examination

Click the images below for each stage of the FAST examination and examples of positive and negative FAST exams. These contain short videos (400k - 1.5Mb) and you will need a Quicktime player to read them (

Perihepatic   Perisplenic
Pelvis   Pericardium



FAST Perihepatic
Alex Ng, 6:12, December 2001