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J Trauma. 2010 Jun;68(6):1417-20. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181c9b301.

Ultrasonographic applications after mass casualty incident caused by Wenchuan earthquake.

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  • 1Department of Ultrasound, Chengdu Military General Hospital, Tianhui Town, Chengdu, PR China.



Ultrasonography has been widely applied in clinical settings, and its role in the assessment of trauma has been approved. However, there are very few reports about its role in the management of mass casualties.


In our hospital, we retrospectively analyzed the application, the methods, and the role of ultrasonography in rescuing the Wenchuan earthquake victims.


On a total of 3,307 wounded patients, 1,207 were examined by ultrasonography, and on a part of them, a follow-up was also performed. A total number of 1,386 ultrasound examinations were performed. Among them, 115 patients received ultrasound-guided interventional diagnosis and treatments. Ultrasound screening detected 23 cases of hemoperitoneum, 45 cases of pleural effusion (blood), 1 case of traumatic intimal tear of femoral artery, 3 cases of deep veins phlebothrombosis of lower limbs, 12 cases of deep-part hematoma of soft tissues. In five cases of negative results by ultrasonography, visceral injury was confirmed later by surgery or computed tomography or contrast-enhanced ultrasonography. All the ultrasound-guided interventional treatments were performed successfully, without any serious complication. The detection rate of trauma-related diseases was 6.96% (84 of 1,207) without false positive; however, the false negative rate was 5.6% (5 of 89). The bedside ultrasound became the preferred examination for the majority of injuries in middle and later stage after earthquake (72 hours to 6 weeks), accounting for 73.9% (458 of 620) of examinations. Ultrasonography-based FAST method was the primary examination tool of trauma in the early stage after earthquake.


In our hospital, ultrasonography was widely used in the triage of earthquake victims, bedside examination of severe cases, and interventional treatments. The advantages of ultrasonography such as convenience, noninvasiveness, high accuracy, and repeatability have been sufficiently demonstrated in this mass casualty, where ultrasonography played a great role in the rescue of victims of Wenchuan earthquake.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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