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Learning to Read CT Angiograms a Lengthy Process

Last Updated: May 11, 2009.

Developing skill in reading coronary computed tomographic angiograms is a slow process and may require more training and practice than provided in a typical one-year fellowship, according to a study reported in the May issue of Radiology.

MONDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Developing skill in reading coronary computed tomographic (CT) angiograms is a slow process and may require more training and practice than provided in a typical one-year fellowship, according to a study reported in the May issue of Radiology.

Francesca Pugliese, M.D., of Erasmus MC University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues tracked the development of skill in reading coronary CT angiograms by three inexperienced radiologists and an inexperienced cardiologist, who were taking part in a one-year fellowship. To evaluate their progress, the fellows were required to read 50 CT angiograms in patients who also had conventional coronary angiography as a standard for comparison. Finally, the same 50 angiograms were examined by two diagnostic experts in consensus. The fellows' progress was assessed at four, eight, 26, and 52 weeks, and sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic odds ratios (DORs) were calculated in comparison to the conventional coronary angiography.

The fellows' accuracy ranges at baseline were 33 to 72 percent for sensitivity, 70 to 94 percent for specificity, with DORs of 3.8 to 8.1. At one year, the ranges had progressed to 66 to 75 percent for sensitivity, 87 to 92 percent for specificity, with DORs of 14.7 to 25.8. In comparison, the experts' results were 95 percent for sensitivity, 93 percent for specificity, with a DOR of 255.9.

"Increasing experience with coronary CT angiography improved the diagnostic performance of inexperienced physicians. However, acquiring expertise in coronary CT angiography was slow and may take more than one year," the authors write.

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