FAST Exam – Part 3
The actual FAST exam is fairly straightforward to perform. The examiner stands on one side of the patient and hypoallergenic ultrasound gel is placed in the subxiphoid area (solar plexus), the right midaxillary line (right flank area) between the 11th and 12th ribs, the left posterior axillary line (left flank area) between the 9th and 10th ribs, and in the suprapubic area (above the pelvic bone).
The subxiphoid area is always examined first for the presence of blood in the pericadium (sac around the heart). Blood will appear black on the screen in the desired sagittal view and is an abnormal finding. This view is also used to ascertain that the heart is actually beating and can confirm the absence of electromechanical dissociation (EMD) of the heart.
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