Comparison of Chest Radiograph Impressions for Diagnosing Pneumonia: Accounting for Categories of Language Certainty

Link to article at PubMed

J Am Coll Radiol. 2022 Oct;19(10):1130-1137. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2022.05.020. Epub 2022 Jul 2.


OBJECTIVES: Uncertain language in chest radiograph (CXR) reports for the diagnosis of pneumonia is prevalent. The purpose of this study is to validate an a priori stratification of CXR results for diagnosing pneumonia based on language of certainty.

DESIGN: Retrospective chart review.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: CXR reports of 2,411 patient visits ≥ 18 years, admitted to medicine, who received a CXR and noncontrast chest CT within 48 hours of emergency department registration at two large academic hospitals (tertiary and quaternary care) were reviewed.

METHODS: The CXR and CT report impressions were categorized as negative, uncertain, or positive. Uncertain CXRs were further stratified into four categories based on language modifiers for the degree of pneumonia certainty. Comparison of CXR and CT results were determined using χ2 test; a P value of less than .0033 was considered significant to account for multiple comparisons.

RESULTS: CXR reports for the diagnosis of pneumonia revealed the following distribution: 61% negative, 32% uncertain, and 7% positive; CT reports were 55% negative, 22% uncertain, and 23% positive for the diagnosis of pneumonia. There were significant differences between CXR categories compared with CT categories for diagnosis of pneumonia (P < .001). Negative CXR results were not significantly different than the uncertain category with the most uncertain language (P = .030) but were significantly different from all other uncertain categories and positive CXR results (each P < .001). Positive CXR results were not significantly different than the least uncertain category (most certain language) (P = .130) but were significantly different from all other categories (each P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Language used in CXR reports to diagnose pneumonia exists in categories of varying certainty and should be considered when evaluating patients for pneumonia.

PMID:35792164 | DOI:10.1016/j.jacr.2022.05.020

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