Some further evidence of the superiority of ultrasound over chest x-ray for the detection of pneumothorax (although it’s not perfect):
INTRODUCTION: Early identification of pneumothorax is crucial to reduce the mortality in critically injured patients. The objective of our study is to investigate the utility of surgeon performed extended focused assessment with sonography for trauma (EFAST) in the diagnosis of pneumothorax.
METHODS: We prospectively analysed 204 trauma patients in our level I trauma center over a period of 12 (06/2007-05/2008) months in whom EFAST was performed. The patients’ demographics, type of injury, clinical examination findings (decreased air entry), CXR, EFAST and CT scan findings were entered into the data base. Sensitivity, specificity, positive (PPV) and negative predictive values (NPV) were calculated.
RESULTS: Of 204 patients (mean age–43.01+/-19.5 years, sex–male 152, female 52) 21 (10.3%) patients had pneumothorax. Of 21 patients who had pneumothorax 12 were due to blunt trauma and 9 were due to penetrating trauma. The diagnosis of pneumothorax in 204 patients demonstrated the following: clinical examination was positive in 17 patients (true positive in 13/21, 62%; 4 were false positive and 8 were false negative), CXR was positive in 16 (true positive in 15/19, 79%; 1 false positive, 4 missed and 2 CXR not performed before chest tube) patients and EFAST was positive in 21 patients (20 were true positive [95.2%], 1 false positive and 1 false negative). In diagnosing pneumothorax EFAST has significantly higher sensitivity compared to the CXR (P=0.02).
CONCLUSIONS: Surgeon performed trauma room extended FAST is simple and has higher sensitivity compared to the chest X-ray and clinical examination in detecting pneumothorax.
Extended focused assessment with sonography for trauma (EFAST) in the diagnosis of pneumothorax: experience at a community based level I trauma center
Injury. 2011 May;42(5):511-4