This is the protocol for a review and there is no abstract. The objectives are as follows:
To study whether diagnostic algorithms using ultrasonography at the emergency department reduce the mortality and morbidity of patients with suspected blunt abdominal trauma and improve functional and health-related outcomes.
The following primary questions will be addressed.
Is the use of ultrasonography in trauma algorithms associated with reduced mortality, compared with algorithms that do not involve a sonographic examination?
Does ultrasonography reduce the incidence of missed injuries?
Do some patient subgroups (i.e. children, hypotensive trauma victims) derive greater benefit from ultrasound diagnosis than others?
Are there any differences in measures of quality of life between subjects undergoing emergency algorithms that do and do not comprise ultrasonography?
If there is insufficient data of adequate quality to answer these questions, the lack of good evidence will be highlighted.
Secondary questions will be examined where sufficient data of adequate quality is available.
Does ultrasonography reduce the rate of non-therapeutic laparotomies?
Does ultrasound decrease the frequency of invasive procedures, such as diagnostic peritoneal lavage or modalities that are associated with exposure to radiation or potentially allergenic contrast agents (i.e. computed tomography)?
Are ultrasound-based clinical pathways a cost-effective strategy?