Assessing the effect of a true-positive recall case in screening mammography: does perceptual priming alter radiologists' performance?

July 2014
British Journal of Radiology;Jul2014, Vol. 87 Issue 1039, p1
Academic Journal
Objective: To measure the effect of the insertion of less-difficult malignant cases on subsequent breast cancer detection by breast imaging radiologists. Methods: The research comprises two studies. Study 1: 8 radiologists read 2 sets of images each consisting of 40 mammographic cases. Set A contained four abnormal cases, and Set B contained six abnormal cases, including two priming cases (less difficult malignancies) placed at intervals of three and five subsequent cases before a subtle cancer. Study 2: 16 radiologists read a third condition of the same cases, known as Set C, containing six abnormal cases and two priming cases immediately preceding the subtle cancer cases. The readers were asked to localize malignancies and give confidence ratings on decisions. Results: Although not significant, a decrease in performance was observed in Set B compared with in Set A. There was a significant increase in the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) area under the curve ( z = -2.532; p = 0.0114) and location sensitivity (z = -2.128; p = 0.0333) between the first and second halves of Set A and a marginal improvement in jackknife free-response ROC figure of merit ( z = -1 .8 9 ; p = 0.0587) between the firs t and second halves of Set B. In Study 2, Set C yielded no significant differences between the two halves of the study. Conclusion: Overall findings show no evidence that priming with lower difficulty malignant cases affects the detection of higher difficulty cancers; however, performance may decrease with priming. Advances in knowledge: This research suggests that inserting additional malignant cases in screening mammography sets as an audit tool may potentially lead to a decrease in performance of experienced breast radiologists.


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