FAST Fails - Things That Will Mess Up Your FAST Exam

November 28, 2015

The FAST exam is an examination that is ubiquitous in emergency medicine, and the more I do them, the more I realize that their correct interpretation takes some training.  If you don’t know how to properly do a FAST exam, START HERE. The following is a list of things that will cause you to have a false-positive or false-negative FAST:

Right upper quadrant:

  • Perinephric fat
  • Gallbladder
  • Not looking at the inferior pole of the kidney/caudal tip of the liver interface


  • You’re too high (probe should sit right above the pubic symphysis)
  • Iliac vessels
  • Probe not oriented sagitally

Left upper quadrant

  • Perinephric fat
  • Stomach
  • Not looking superior to the spleen
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