Outcome of recommendations for radiographic follow-up of pneumonia on outpatient chest radiography.
AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2014 Jan;202(1):54-9
Authors: Little BP, Gilman MD, Humphrey KL, Alkasab TK, Gibbons FK, Shepard JA, Wu CC
OBJECTIVE. Follow-up chest radiographs are frequently recommended by radiologists to document the clearing of radiographically suspected pneumonia. However, the clinical utility of follow-up radiography is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to examine the incidence of important pulmonary pathology revealed during follow-up imaging of suspected pneumonia on outpatient chest radiography. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Reports of 29,138 outpatient chest radiography examinations performed at an academic medical center in 2008 were searched to identify cases in which the radiologist recommended follow-up chest radiography for presumed community-acquired pneumonia (n = 618). Descriptions of index radiographic abnormalities were recorded. Reports of follow-up imaging (radiography and CT) performed during the period from January 2008 to January 2010 were reviewed to assess the outcome of the index abnormality. Clinical history, demographics, microbiology, and pathology reports were reviewed and recorded. RESULTS. Compliance with follow-up imaging recommendations was 76.7%. In nine of 618 cases (1.5%), a newly diagnosed malignancy corresponded to the abnormality on chest radiography initially suspected to be pneumonia. In 23 of 618 cases (3.7%), an alternative nonmalignant disease corresponded with the abnormality on chest radiography initially suspected to be pneumonia. Therefore, in 32 of 618 patients (5.2%), significant new pulmonary diagnoses were established during follow-up imaging of suspected pneumonia. CONCLUSION. Follow-up imaging of radiographically suspected pneumonia leads to a small number of new diagnoses of malignancy and important nonmalignant diseases, which may alter patient management.
PMID: 24370128 [PubMed - in process]