Systematic approach to the presenting trauma patient is critical to quickly identify life-threatening acute concerns. The seven primary survey steps can be completed in minutes and may be remembered with the mnemonic ABCDEFG.
Airway control is mandatory; all else hinges on this. The tongue is the most common obstruction in the unconscious patient.
Evaluate O2 sat, work of breathing, respiratory rate and Chest XRay.
Evaluate LOC, skin color, central pulses, sites of rapid blood loss.
Evaluate GCS, AVPU and pupil response as well as motor and sensation in all extremities. An unconscious trauma patient has a bilateral cerebral cortex injury or a brain stem injury.
Trauma patients should be completely undressed and visually inspected (including log roll).
Trauma ultrasound is performed with a low frequency (3-5 MHz) curved linear probe. All views are performed with indicator at 12:00 except for the sub-costal view which is oriented instead at 9:00.
Remembering to check a bedside glucose and pregnancy test can avoid a few major pitfalls.