Clinical importance of second-opinion interpretations of abdominal imaging studies in a cancer hospital and its impact on patient management
Mayur Virarkar, Corey Jensen, Albert Klekers, Nicolaus A Wagner-Bartak, Catherine E Devine, Elizabeth A Lano, Jia Sun, Bathala Tharakeswara, Priya Bhosale
Clin Imaging . 2022 Jun;86:13-19. doi: 10.1016/j.clinimag.2022.03.014. Epub 2022 Mar 17.
Purpose: The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the quality of outside hospital imaging and associated reports submitted to us for reinterpretation related to clinical care at our tertiary cancer center. We compared the initial study interpretations to that of interpretations performed by subspecialty-trained abdominal radiologists at our center and whether this resulted in a change in inpatient treatment.
Materials and methods: We performed an institutional review board-approved retrospective single-institution study of 915 consecutive outside computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) abdominal imaging studies that had been submitted to our institution between August 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020. The assessed parameters included the quality and accuracy of the report, the technical quality of the imaging compared to that at our institution, the appropriateness of the imaging for staging or restaging, usage of oral and IV contrast, and CT slice thickness. Clinical notes, pathologic findings, and subsequent imaging were used to establish an accurate diagnosis and determine the effect on clinical treatment. Discrepancies between the initial and secondary interpretations were identified independently by a panel of radiologists to assess changes in treatment. The impact of discrepancies on treatment was evaluated based on current treatment guidelines.
Results: Of 744 CT (81%) and 171 MR (19%) outside imaging studies, 65% had suboptimal quality compared to the images at our institution, and 31% were inappropriate for oncological care purposes. Only 21% of CT studies had optimal slice thickness of <3 mm. Of 375 (41%) outside reports, 131 (34%) had discrepancies between secondary and initial interpretations. Of the 88 confirmed discrepant studies, 42 patients (48%) had a change in treatment based on the secondary interpretation.
Conclusions: Imaging studies from outside institutions have variable image quality and are often inadequate for oncologic imaging. The secondary interpretations by subspecialty-trained radiologists resulted in treatment change.
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