Diagnostic imaging of hepatocellular carcinoma at community hospitals and their tertiary referral center in the era of LI-RADS: a quality assessment study
Abdom Radiol (NY) . 2019 Dec;44(12):4028-4036. doi: 10.1007/s00261-019-02237-3.
Andrew Chan, Madeleine Sertic, Jennifer Sammon, Tae Kyoung Kim, Hyun-Jung Jang, Luis Guimaraes, Martin O'Malley, Korosh Khalili
Purpose: To assess guideline compliance and quality of hepatocellular carcinoma, (HCC) diagnostic imaging within community hospitals (CH) and their Tertiary referral center (TRC) in a moderately high incidence region.
Methods: Initial diagnostic workup CT/MRI scans of 251 patients (122 CH, 112 TRC, 17 Non-TRC academic) with HCC over a 15-month period were assessed for Liver reporting and Data System (LI-RADS) guideline compliance. 269 scans (182 CT, 87 MRI) were qualitatively evaluated by 2 independent blinded radiologists for arterial timing, overall image quality, noise and sharpness, with quantification of interobserver variability. The contrast enhancement ratio (CER) for the largest HCC on each scan was calculated using pre- and post-contrast images.
Results: 103/104 (99%) of TRC and 44/78 (56%) of CH CTs adhered to LI-RADS imaging guidelines (P < 0.0001). Lack of delayed phase accounted for 32/34 (94%) of noncompliant CH CTs. Regarding MRI, 19/19 (100%) of TRC and 60/68 (88%) of CH scans were adherent (P = 0.12). For both modalities, overall image quality, noise and sharpness were rated significantly higher for TRC than CH. There was moderate interobserver agreement with intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.73, 0.70 and 0.63, respectively. Arterial-phase timing was rated adequate for CT in 75/104 TRC (72%) and 10/68 (14%) CH scans (P < 0.0001) and for MRI in 8/19 (42%) TRC and 23/68 (33%) CH scans (P = 0.17). The CER was significantly higher for TRC versus CH (2.9 vs. 1.9, P < 0.001) and MRI (0.9 vs. 0.7, P = 0.03).
Conclusions: Community hospital HCC diagnostic scans significantly lag in critical quality parameters of tumor enhancement, arterial phase timing, perceived image quality, and LI-RADS CT technique compliance compared to a TRC.
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