Ultra-low dose computed tomography of the chest in an emergency setting: A prospective agreement study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Ultra-low dose computed tomography (ULD-CT) assessed by non-radiologists in a medical Emergency Department (ED) has not been examined in previous studies. To (i) investigate intragroup agreement among attending physicians caring for ED patients (i.e., radiologists, senior- and junior clinicians) and medical students for the detection of acute lung conditions on ULD-CT and supine chest X-ray (sCXR), and (ii) evaluate the accuracy of interpretation compared to the reference standard. In this prospective study, non-traumatic patients presenting to the ED, who received an sCXR were included. Between February and July 2019, 91 patients who underwent 93 consecutive examinations were enrolled. Subsequently, a ULD-CT and non-contrast CT were performed. The ULD-CT and sCXR were assessed by 3 radiologists, 3 senior clinicians, 3 junior clinicians, and 3 medical students for pneumonia, pneumothorax, pleural effusion, and pulmonary edema. The non-contrast CT, assessed by a chest radiologist, was used as the reference standard. The results of the assessments were compared within each group (intragroup agreement) and with the reference standard (accuracy) using kappa statistics. Accuracy and intragroup agreement improved for pneumothorax on ULD-CT compared with the sCXR for all groups. Accuracy and intragroup agreement improved for pneumonia on ULD-CT when assessed by radiologists and for pleural effusion when assessed by medical students. In patients with acute lung conditions ULD-CT offers improvement in the detection of pneumonia by radiologists and the detection of pneumothorax by radiologists as well as non-radiologists compared to sCXR. Therefore, ULD-CT may be considered as an alternative first-line imaging modality to sCXR for non-traumatic patients who present to EDs.