Radiologist and Sonographer Interpretation Discrepancies for Biliary Sonographic Findings: Our Experience

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim was to determine the discrepancy rate between the preliminary interpretation by sonographers and the final radiology interpretation for biliary sonographic findings.

Materials and Methods

Institutional review board approval was obtained. Four hundred consecutive right upper quadrant sonographer performed ultrasounds were reviewed retrospectively. Sonographers' worksheets were compared with the final radiology report. For the purposes of this project, only the biliary findings were compared and reviewed. Discrepant findings were reviewed by 5 ultrasound experts, and a majority vote sought to determine truth, sonographer worksheet findings, or radiologist report. The clinical impact of the discrepant findings was also evaluated.

Results

Of the 400 scans, there were 338 agreements and 62 discrepancies. The overall discrepancy rate was 15.5%. The most frequently contested discrepancy was the presence or absence of pericholecystic fluid n = 21. Sonographers (S) were deemed correct 8 times and radiologists (R) 13 times, denoted 8/13 (S/R). The overall split was 30/32 (S/R) with radiologists deemed correct 52% of the time and sonographers 48% of the time. Using a 1-sample proportion χ2 test with Yates' continuity correction, there were no statistically significant discrepancies between the 2 groups.

Conclusions

We observed an interpretation discrepancy rate of 15.5% with radiologists deemed correct slightly more frequently, although this did not meet statistical significance. Clinically impactful discrepant findings (6.5% of all discrepancies) were all correctly called by the radiologists. Both groups bring tremendous value to the ultrasound arena, and continued collaboration should be encouraged.

Purpose

The aim of this study was to determine the discrepancy rate that exists between the preliminary interpretation by sonographers and the subsequent final radiology interpretation for biliary sonographic findings.

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