Emergency Radiology

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 169–173 | Cite as

Accuracy of outside radiologists’ reports of computed tomography exams of emergently transferred patients

  • Jeffrey D. Robinson
  • Ken F. Linnau
  • Daniel S. Hippe
  • Kellie L. Sheehan
  • Joel A. Gross
Original Article



Growing numbers of patient with advanced imaging being transferred to trauma centers has resulted in increased numbers of outside CT scans received at trauma centers. This study examines the degree of agreement between community radiologists’ interpretations of the CT scans of transferred patients and trauma center radiologists’ reinterpretation.


All CT scans of emergency transfer patients received over a 1 month period were reviewed by an emergency radiologist. Patients were classified as trauma or non-trauma and exams as neuro or non-neuro. Interpretive discrepancies between the emergency radiologist and community radiologist were classified as minor, moderate, or major. Major discrepancies were confirmed by review of a second emergency radiologist. Discrepancy rates were calculated on a per-patient and per exam basis.


Six hundred twenty-seven CT scans of 326 patients were reviewed. Major discrepancies were encountered in 52 (16.0%, 95% CI 12.2–20.5) patients and 53 exams (8.5%, 95% CI 6.5–10.5). These were discovered in 46 trauma patients (21.6%, 95% CI 16.4–27.9) compared to six non-trauma patients (5.3%, 95% CI 2.2–11.7) (P < 0.001). A significant difference in the major discrepancy rate was also found between non-neuro and neuro exams (12.4 vs 3.3%, respectively, P < 0.001), primarily due to discrepancies in trauma patients, rather than non-trauma patients.


Potentially management-changing interpretive changes affected 16% of transferred patients and 8.5% of CT exams over a 1 month period. Trauma center reinterpretations of community hospital CT scans of transferred patients provide valuable additional information to the clinical services caring for critically ill patients.


Discrepancy rate Discordance rate Transfer patients Overread Computed tomography 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© American Society of Emergency Radiology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey D. Robinson
    • 1
  • Ken F. Linnau
    • 1
  • Daniel S. Hippe
    • 1
  • Kellie L. Sheehan
    • 1
  • Joel A. Gross
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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