Radiology Trainees 95.9 Percent Right

August 17, 2011

Radiology trainees incorrectly interpreted pediatric neuroimaging scans 4.1 percent of the time, with a tiny fraction - 0.17 percent - of all readings erring in ways “major and potentially life-threatening,” according to a new study published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology.

Radiology trainees incorrectly interpreted pediatric neuroimaging scans 4.1 percent of the time, with a tiny fraction - 0.17 percent - of all readings erring in ways “major and potentially life-threatening,” according to a new study published in the American Journal of Neuroradiology.

Lead author James Leach, MD, and colleagues at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center considered 3,496 trainee-dictated examination reports. They found 143 errors, amounting to a discrepancy rate of 4.1 percent. Most discrepancies - 131, or 92 percent - occurred on CT examinations.

Most of these were minor, with no impact on clinical management (97, or 68 percent), or resulted simply in clinical reassessment or imaging follow-up (43, or 30 percent). Thirty-seven were overcalls. But six were major and potentially life-threatening.

The most common misinterpretations were related to fractures (28) and intracerebral hemorrhage (23). CT examinations of the face, orbits, and neck had the highest discrepancy rate (9.4 percent). Third- and fourth-year residents had a larger discrepancy rate than fellows. The authors said such detailed analysis of the types of misinterpretations can be used to inform proactive trainee education.