The effect of a chest imaging lecture on emergency department doctors’ ability to interpret chest CT images: a randomized study

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the chest computed tomography (CT) imaging interpreting skills of emergency department (ED) doctors and to study the effect of a CT chest imaging interpretation lecture on these skills.

Participants and methods

Sixty doctors in two EDs were randomized, using computerized randomization, to either attend a chest CT interpretation lecture or not to attend this lecture. Within 2 weeks of the lecture, the participants completed a questionnaire on demographic variables, anatomical knowledge, and diagnostic interpretation of 10 chest CT studies. Outcome measures included anatomical knowledge score, diagnosis score, and the combined overall score, all expressed as a percentage of correctly answered questions (0–100).

Results

Data on 58 doctors were analyzed, of which 27 were randomized to attend the lecture. The CT interpretation lecture did not have an effect on anatomy knowledge scores (72.9 vs. 70.2%), diagnosis scores (71.2 vs. 69.2%), or overall scores (71.4 vs. 69.5%). Twenty-nine percent of doctors stated that they had a systematic approach to chest CT interpretation. Overall self-perceived competency for interpreting CT imaging (brain, chest, abdomen) was low (between 3.2 and 5.2 on a 10-point Visual Analogue Scale).

Conclusion

A single chest CT interpretation lecture did not improve chest CT interpretation by ED doctors. Less than one-third of doctors had a systematic approach to chest CT interpretation. A standardized systematic approach may improve interpretation skills.

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