This study by Rozychi GS et al. examined the accuracy of what is now well known as Focused Abdominal Sonography for Trauma (FAST), and is the landmark paper demonstrating the feasibility and accuracy of the use of surgeon-performed ultrasound. Based on this study and subsequent research, FAST is now standard in the initial evaluation of trauma patients.
If a patient is unstable with free fluid on FAST, exploratory laparotomy without further imaging is justifiable. Go get practicing on all those trauma consults!
Rozycki GS, Ochsner MG, Jaffin JH, Champion HR. Prospective evaluation of surgeons’ use of ultrasound in the evaluation of trauma patients. J Trauma. 1993 Apr;34(4):516-26; discussion 526-27.
Read the full article in Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: