The radiological diagnostic performance of the mammography examination was similar radiologists Providing a solution to the shortage of radiologists
The diagnostic performance of radiologists for screening mammography does not differ from that of radiologists in the double reading of digital mammograms, and thus presents a potential solution to the shortage of radiologists according to the results of a retrospective study by British researchers.
Mammography is widely used to detect breast cancer and has been shown to reduce mortality. Furthermore, the rate of cancer detection can be increased by double reading the scan. for example, One study revealed how the relative increase in cancer detection as a result of the second reviewer was 6.3%.. In a 2016 survey, it was found that the United Kingdom Radiologists are already involved in image interpretation and reporting across the full spectrum of clinical indications for mammography including: low-risk population screening, symptoms, annual surveillance, family history, and biopsy/surgical cases.. However, despite this role change, there is limited evidence for the diagnostic performance of a real-life radiologist in double-reading mammography. For the current study, the UK team examined the performance of radiographers and radiologists for all mammograms in England between 2015 and 2016. The researchers used three main metrics to compare radiographers and radiologists: cancer detection rate (CDR); Recall rate (RR) and positive predictive value (PPV) of recall based on biopsy-proven pathological findings of early readers. Both breast scans were analyzed based on the reader’s profession (ie, radiologist or radiology technician) and years of experience.
Diagnostic performance of a radiologist in mammography examination
A total of 401 readers were included and read the mammograms of 1,404,395 women. There were 224 radiologists who first read 763,958 mammograms and 177 radiographers who first read 640,437 mammograms.
The overall mean CDR was 7.7 per 1000 examinations and the median diagnostic performance for radiologists was 7.53/1000 examinations and 7.84 for radiologists (p = 0.08). When the researchers analyzed the CDR based on years of experience, there was no difference in either occupation (p = 0.87).
The overall recall rate was 5% and again there was no significant difference between radiologists and radiologists (5.2% vs 5%, radiologists vs radiologists, p = 0.63) although the RR was lower for those with years of experience more.
Finally, the total PPV was 16.7% and again the differences between radiologists and radiologists were not significant (16.1% vs 17.1%, radiologists vs radiologists, p = 0.42). As with RR, PPV improved with more years of experience.
The authors concluded that there were no apparent differences in the performance of diagnostic radiologists and radiologists as readers of digital mammogram screening. They speculated that the use of trained radiologists in a double-reading workflow might provide a potential solution to the shortage of radiologists, but suggested that further studies were needed to determine whether it was possible, and should, to use the physician extended roles to read mammograms independently of Radiologist.
Chen Y et al. Radiologists and radiologists’ performance on double-reading mammograms: the UK National Health Service breast screening programme. Rays 2022