Discrepancies in Radiograph Interpretation Between Pediatric Radiologists and Pediatric Intensivists in the Pediatric or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Adam Z. Fink, Terry L. Levin, Einat Blumfield, Sheri L. Nemerofsky, Mark C. Liszewski, Kandi George, Suhas Nafday, Mark Shlomovich, K. Allen Eddington, Eliza H. Myers, H. Michael Ushay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: In pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) and neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), patient management decisions are sometimes based on preliminary interpretations of radiographs by pediatric intensivists (PIs) before a formal interpretation by a pediatric radiologist (PR). Objective: To quantify and classify discrepancies in radiographic interpretation between PRs and PIs in the PICU and NICU. Materials and Methods: This institutional review board–approved multi-institutional prospective study included three PRs and PIs at two PICUs and three NICUs. Interpretations of chest and abdominal radiographs by PIs and PRs were recorded on online forms and compared. Discrepancies in interpretations were classified as “miss,” “misinterpretation,” or “overcall.” The discrepancies were also categorized as “actionable” or “nonactionable” based on extrapolation of the ACR actionable reporting work group's list of actionable findings. Results: In 960 radiographic interpretations, the total, nonactionable, and actionable discrepancy rates between PRs and PIs were 34.7%, 26.8%, and 7.9%, respectively. The most common actionable discrepancies were line or tube positions and identification and interpretation of parenchymal opacities in the lungs. Identification of air leaks in the PICU and differentiation of normal from abnormal bowel gas patterns in the NICU followed in frequency. Air leaks accounted for 1% of total discrepancies and 11% of actionable discrepancies. Most discrepancies were nonactionable and included retrocardiac atelectasis and mischaracterization of neonatal lung disease in the PICU and NICU, respectively. Conclusion: Although the total discrepancy rate was high, most discrepancies were nonactionable. Actionable discrepancies were predominantly due to line and tube position, which should be an area of focused education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1580-1586
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • NICU
  • PICU
  • Radiograph interpretation
  • discrepancy
  • pediatric intensivist
  • pediatric radiologist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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