Ultrasound was first utilised for the examination of
trauma patients in the 1970s in Europe, where its qualities
for being a noninvasive, rapid, safe, accurate and repeatable
bedside assessment were first appreciated. It's uptake
in North America and the United Kingdom did not occur
until the 1990s. Since that time a considerable body
of data has been produced to support its use in the
assessment of the trauma patient.
Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST)
is a limited ultrasound examination directed solely
at identifying the presence of free intraperitoneal
or pericardial fluid. In the context of traumatic injury,
free fluid is usually due to haemorrhage and contributes
to the assessment of the circulation.
6:12, December 2001