The quality of surgical resident interpretation of after-hour CT scans of the head and abdomen in trauma

Wong, Charles; Taubman, Kevin; Hoehne, Francesca; Malhotra, Siddharth; Naidu, Murali; Parent, Donna; Taylor, Edward W.
September 2005
American Surgeon;Sep2005, Vol. 71 Issue 9, p772
Academic Journal
journal article
Computed tomography (CT) is an important diagnostic tool in the evaluation of trauma patients. Accurate interpretation of CT scans remains critical in decision-making and the resultant quality of care. In our study, the records of a consecutive cohort of trauma patients who underwent after-hour CT scans of the head and abdomen between January 23 and June 30, 2004, at Kern Medical Center were reviewed. Three hundred thirty-five CT studies were collected in 211 patients. The accuracy of resident interpretation was 92.8 per cent for abdominal and 97.5 per cent for head CT. Resident readings were 93.2 per cent sensitive and 95.4 per cent specific with a positive predictive value of 85.2 per cent and a negative predictive value of 98.0 per cent. There were 16 (4.8%) instances of interpretation discrepancy between the surgical resident and attending radiologist. Most differences occurred in the evaluation of abdominal CT. In no instance was management or outcome for these patients affected. This data demonstrates a low error rate in resident interpretation of after-hour CT scans of the head and abdomen in trauma, but there remains a need for the continued review of the quality of surgical resident radiologic interpretation in situations when an attending radiologist is not immediately available.


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