The Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) procedure is an ultrasound examination performed to identify intra-peritoneal hemorrhage or pericardial tamponade. FAST involves the detection of free fluid in ultrasound images from four specific abdominal areas. Unstable patients with positive FAST results are operated on, and stable patients with negative results tend to be observed. We propose to develop the hardware and image analysis algorithms necessary for novice ultrasound operators to perform life-saving FAST procedures. The proposed system will consist of a low-cost ultrasound probe, connected to a ruggedize tablet computer, running innovative computer vision algorithms, embedded in an intuitive application. Using that system, a novice operator will be visually guided to acquire ultrasound images from the abdominal locations and quantify the free fluid in those images. The target for our initial deployment of the system is level 3 and 4 trauma centers. These centers must often serve areas spanning hundreds and even thousands of miles;however, they are typically under-staffed and under-equipped. The proposal is being clinically driven by Jeffrey Lowell, MD. He is a USNR Trauma Surgeon, and he was recently deployed to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the only Level I Trauma Center outside the U.S.
The Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST) procedure is an ultrasound-based examination for rapidly detecting blood in the abdomen, particularly after blunt abdominal trauma, which is common, for example, with car accidents. The challenge is that the FAST procedure requires expertise and equipment which is not commonly available at level 3 and 4 trauma centers that serve rural populations. We propose to develop the hardware and image analysis algorithms necessary for novice ultrasound operators to perform life- saving FAST procedures. The proposed system will consist of a low-cost, hand-held ultrasound probe, connected to a ruggedize tablet computer, running innovative computer vision algorithms, embedded in an easy-to-follow software application.
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