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Radiology. 2016 Mar;278(3):888-96. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2015150714. Epub 2015 Oct 9.

Differentiating between Subsolid and Solid Pulmonary Nodules at CT: Inter- and Intraobserver Agreement between Experienced Thoracic Radiologists.

Author information

1
From the Department of Radiology, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Eccles Street, Dublin 7, Ireland (C.A.R.); Department of Radiology, Gevher Nesibe Hospital, University of Erciyes, Kayseri, Turkey (A.Y.); Department of Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass (P.M.B., A.A.B.); Department of Radiology, Hospital de Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain (T.F.); Department of Radiology, Meander Medical Centre, Amersfoort, the Netherlands (C.M.S.P.); Department of Radiology, Universitair Medisch Centrum St. Radboud, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (C.M.S.P.); Department of Radiology, Epicura Hospital, Clinique Louis Caty, Baudour, Belgium (D.T.); and Department of Radiology, Erasmus Hospital, University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium (P.A.G.).

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To quantify the reproducibility and accuracy of experienced thoracic radiologists in differentiating between subsolid and solid pulmonary nodules at CT.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

The institutional review board of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center approved this multicenter study. Six thoracic radiologists, with a mean of 21 years of experience in thoracic radiology (range, 17-22 years), selected images of 10 solid and 10 subsolid nodules to create a database of 120 nodules; this selection served as the reference standard. Each radiologist then interpreted 120 randomly ordered nodules in two different sessions that were separated by a minimum of 3 weeks. The radiologists classified whether or not each nodule was subsolid. Inter- and intraobserver agreement was assessed with a κ statistic. The number of correct classifications was calculated and correlated with nodule size by using Bland-Altman plots. The relationship between disagreement and nodule morphologic characteristics was analyzed by calculating the intraclass correlation coefficient.

RESULTS:

Interobserver agreement (κ) was 0.619 (range, 0.469-0.745; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.576, 0.663) and 0.670 (range, 0.440-0.839; 95% CI: 0.608, 0.733) for interpretation sessions 1 and 2, respectively. Intraobserver agreement (κ) was 0.792 (95% CI: 0.750, 0.833). Averaged for interpretation sessions, correct classification was achieved by all radiologists for 58% (70 of 120) of nodules. Radiologists agreed with their initial determination (the reference standard) in 77% of cases (range, 45%-100%). Nodule size weakly correlated with correct classification (long axis: Spearman rank correlation coefficient, rs = 0.161 and P = .049; short axis: rs = 0.128 and P = .163).

CONCLUSION:

The reproducibility and accuracy of thoracic radiologists in classifying whether or not a nodule is subsolid varied in the retrospective study. This inconsistency may affect surveillance recommendations and prognostic determinations.

PMID:
26458208
DOI:
10.1148/radiol.2015150714
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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