Optimum treatment of severely injured trauma victims requires a rapid and organized assessment and treatment system. The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has developed a graded approach involving primary and secondary surveys for injuries, using a system of management described as Advanced Trauma Life Supportw

(ATLSw). The “primary survey” (PS) is the initial phase of management reviewed in this chapter. During the PS, lifethreatening conditions are rapidly identified and life-saving treatment is expeditiously initiated. Resuscitation efforts occur coincident with the PS and continue throughout the next phase of care. Optimally, the PS is completed in the first three to five minutes. However, when multiple lifethreatening injuries are encountered, the PS takes longer to complete.