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J Natl Med Assoc. 2006 Aug;98(8):1326-8.

Quality outcomes of reinterpretation of brain CT imaging studies by subspecialty experts in neuroradiology.

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  • 1Memrad Medical Group Inc., Long Beach, CA, USA.



To determine the clinical importance and relative value of reinterpreting brain CT imaging studies by subspecialty experts regarding changes in clinical management.


Computerized records were queried at two institutions during the years 2002-2003 for both primary interpretation by board-certified nonneuroradiologists and secondary interpretation by three neuroradiologists. A total of 1,081 cases were reviewed. Each case was initially interpreted as an emergent or urgent study. The reinterpreted studies were scored as concordant or discordant by the subspecialty experts. The discordant studies were then categorized as a "major discordance" if there was a change in clinical management, or as a "minor discordance" if there was no impact or change in clinical management.


Of the 1,081 studies reviewed, 14 studies were identified as discordant (1.3%). Of those discordant studies, four were categorized as major discrepancies necessitating a change in clinical management (0.4 %). Ten were categorized as minor discrepancies (0.9%). There were no permanent adverse outcomes with respect to morbidity and mortality as a result of any discrepancy.


The vast majority of interpreted head CT cases read by board-certified general radiologists do not result in discordant interpretations as verified by subspecialty experts. Discordant interpretations did not result in changes in clinical management in most cases. Double reading of head CTs by subspecialty experts appears to be an inefficient method of substantially improving imaging health quality outcomes.

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