The use of the FAST DH (Diaphragmatico-Hepatic) view should be part of all veterinary ultrasound training, a conclusion drawn from a recent retrospective study accepted by the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (2014). In this study, we looked at 24 cases of pericardial effusion diagnosed in dogs using FAST over a 1-year period (2011-2012). We present here some of our most important findings.
The use of the FAST DH view, part of BOTH the abdominal FAST (AFAST) and thoracic FAST (TFAST) ultrasound formats, is advantageous for 2 major reasons: 1) the acoustic window provided by liver and gallbladder (avoiding air-filled lung problematic at transthoracic views [the TFAST PCS view]) and 2) the muscular apex of the heart is much less likely to be confused with heart chambers (problematic at the transthoracic views). Because of the very short distance between the DH’s subxiphoid location and the apex of the heart, we found that even small volume effusions of < 5 mm can be recognized via the DH view.
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