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Am J Surg. 2013 Mar;205(3):280-2; discussion 282-3. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2012.10.017. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Impact on patient care of discordance in radiology readings between external overnight radiology services and staff radiology readings at a level 1 trauma center.

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Department of Surgery, Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, 1086 Franklin St, Johnstown, PA 15905, USA.



Overnight radiology services (ORSs) provide computed tomography (CT) scan readings that are automatically reviewed by staff radiologists (SRs) and the trauma service. Discordant readings and their clinical significance were investigated.


ORS-read CT scans over 3 years were reviewed. A discordant reading was clinically significant if it resulted in a substantive change in patient care. All clinically significant findings were reviewed by a blinded radiologist.


Five hundred thirty-four CT scans were identified: 191 (35.8%) head, 187 (35%) cervical, 66 (12.4%) chest, and 90 (16.9%) abdomen/pelvis scans. One hundred twenty-three scans (23%) were abnormal with a DR of 16%: 5 head, 2 cervical, 7 chest, and 6 abdomen/pelvis scans. Seven (6%) scans had clinically significant findings missed: 3 head and 4 abdomen/pelvis scans. ORSs missed 7, and SRs missed 3 clinically significant findings. A blinded radiologist confirmed the clinically significant findings.


The discordant rate of readings for abnormal CT scans was 16% with 37% considered to be clinically significant. ORSs missed 100%, and 29% of the clinically significant findings were identified after SR/trauma service rounds. SR/trauma service review of ORS readings is supported.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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