The objective of this study was to evaluate the current use and perceived utility of ultrasound in the assessment of pediatric compared with adult trauma patients.
A questionnaire was developed and mailed to 72 pediatric emergency physicians, 120 general emergency physicians, and 117 trauma attendings at 240 institutions.
Of 309 surveys, 234 (75%) were completed. Ultrasound was available to 169 of 234 (72%) of the physicians, and 122 of 169 (72%) were performing the Focused Assessment by Sonography for Trauma examination to evaluate trauma patients. Seventy-three percent (110/150) of general emergency and trauma surgeons reported that ultrasound was available equally with or more readily than computed tomography (CT) scan. Only 26% (5/19) of pediatric emergency attendings considered ultrasound equally available with CT scan, and none considered it more readily available than CT scan. Ninety-two percent (137/149) of general emergency and trauma attendings responding to the question about utility considered ultrasound somewhat useful to extremely useful for assessing adult trauma patients, and 77% considered it useful for pediatric patients. Only 57% (12/21) of pediatric emergency attendings responding to the same question perceived ultrasound as useful for pediatric trauma evaluations.
We conclude that ultrasound for the assessment of trauma patients is widely used by general emergency physicians and trauma surgeons, whereas pediatric emergency physicians report less use and perceived utility.