JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Focused abdominal sonography for trauma (FAST) in blunt paediatric abdominal trauma.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the role of focussed abdominal sonography for trauma in blunt paediatric abdominal trauma patients, and to see if the role of computed tomography scan could be limited to only those cases in which sonography was positive.

METHODS: The retrospective study covered 10 years, from January 1,2000 to December 31,2009, and was conducted at the Department of Radiology and Department of Emergency Medicine, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. It comprised cases of 174 children from birth to 14 years who had presented with blunt abdominal trauma and had focussed abdominal sonography for trauma done at the hospital. The findings were correlated with computed tomography scan of the abdomen and clinical follow-up. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value and accuracy of focussed abdominal sonography for trauma were calculated for blunt abdominal trauma. SPSS 17 was used for statistical analysis.

RESULTS: Of the total 174 cases, 31 (17.81%) were later confirmed by abdominal scan. Of these 31 children, sonography had been positive in 29 (93.54%) children. In 21 (67.74%) of the 31 children, sonograpy had been true positive; 8 (25%) (8/31) were false positive; and 2 (6%) (2/31) were false negative. There were 6 (19.3%) children in which sonography was positive and converted to laparotomy. There was no significant difference on account of gender (p>0.356). Focussed abdominal sonography for trauma in the study had sensitivity of 91%, specificity of 95%, positive predictive value of 73%, and negative predictive value of 73% with accuracy of 94%. All patients who had negative sonography were discharged later, and had no complication on clinical follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Focussed abdominal sonography for trauma is a fairly reliable mode to assess blunt abdominal trauma in children. It is a useful tool to pick high-grade solid and hollow viscous injury. The results suggest that the role of computed tomography scan can be limited to those cases in which focussed sonography is positive.

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