To study the impact of variability among B-readers on clinical occupational medicine.Methods:
A total of 419,770 B-reading reports from February 1980 to May 2004 in the US Navy Asbestos Medical Surveillance Program were analyzed for changes in category from the previous B-reading on each individual worker.Results:
Over 7% of films were categorized as worse (ie, read as going from negative to positive), and over 6% were categorized as better. When profusion categories were reported as different from the previous reading (over 6% of the time), they were more frequently read as 2 or more minor categories worse or better.Conclusions:
Changes from previous B-readings are common, and may have clinical and other implications, which are discussed. B-readings should not be used as the sole basis for determining the presence or absence of pneumoconiosis.