Comparative Analysis of Body Radiologist to Neuroradiologist Evaluation of the Spine in Trauma Settings

Alice L. Zhou, Luke W. Bonham, Franco Verde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: CT is routinely performed to evaluate trauma patients. When a radiologist misses an acute finding, there could be serious adverse consequences. In many subspecialty settings, body radiologists and neuroradiologists both interpret the thoracic and lumbar spine. RADPEER has estimated general disagreement rates between radiologists to be 2.9%, but the disagreement rate between neuroradiologists and body radiologists in trauma settings remains unknown. Methods: This retrospective case review examined reports from the past 10 years of adult CT scans of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis interpreted by body radiologists, with concurrent thoracic and lumbar spine reconstructions interpreted by neuroradiologists. Reports were scrutinized for disagreement on the presence of acute fractures visible to both radiologists. Results: 1,497 report pairs were analyzed. Of them, 33 pairs (2.2%) disagreed on the presence of an unequivocal acute fracture. In scans where only one miss occurred, the body radiologist and neuroradiologist were attributed with 27 (82%) and 6 (18%) of 32 disagreements, respectively. One scan contained a miss by both the body radiologist and neuroradiologist. Transverse processes were most commonly missed, followed by vertebral body fractures. Conclusion: Misses by body radiologists comprised the majority of disagreements. Neuroradiologists are more sensitive for detecting spinal fractures likely secondary to experience, education, small field of view reconstructed, and more detailed reporting protocols. Additional studies are needed to determine whether emulating neuroradiology practices may help body radiologists detect subtle fractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1687-1691
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Volume15
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Keywords

  • CT
  • Peer review
  • spine
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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