Background: Despite the use of e-FAST in management of patients with abdominal trauma, its utility in prehospital setting is not widely adopted. The goal of this study is to develop a novel portable telesonography (TS) system and evaluate the comparability of the quality of images obtained via this system among healthy volunteers who undergo e-FAST abdominal examination in a moving ambulance and at the ED. We hypothesize that: (1) real-time ultrasound images of acute trauma patients in the pre-hospital setting can be obtained and transmitted to the ED via the novel TS system; and (2) Ultrasound images transmitted to the hospital from the real-time TS system will be comparable in quality to those obtained in the ED.
Methods: Study participants are three healthy volunteers (one each with normal, overweight and obese BMI category). The ultrasound images will be obtained by two ultrasound-trained physicians The TS is a portable sonogram (by Sonosite) interfaced with a portable broadcast unit (by Live-U). Two UTPs will conduct e-FAST examinations on healthy volunteers in moving ambulances and transmit the images via cellular network to the hospital server, where they are stored. Upon arrival in the ED, the same UTPs will obtain another set of images from the volunteers, which are then compared to those obtained in the moving ambulances by another set of blinded UTPs (evaluators) using a validated image quality scale, the Questionnaire for User Interaction Satisfaction (QUIS).
Discussion: Findings from this study will provide needed data on the validity of the novel TS in transmitting live images from moving ambulances to images obtained in the ED thus providing opportunity to facilitate medical care of a patient located in a remote or austere setting.
BMC Emerg Med. 2012;12(19) © 2012 BioMed Central, Ltd.