Cranial CT interpretation by senior emergency department staff

Australas Radiol. 2003 Dec;47(4):368-74. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1673.2003.01204.x.


The aims of the present study were to determine the rate of misinterpretation of non-contrast cranial CT scans by emergency specialists and trainees compared with specialist radiologists, and the proportion of misinterpretations that is consequential. A 12-month prospective blinded cohort study was performed. One-hundred and ninety of 1,282 scans (14.8%) were misinterpreted, and 78 of these (41.1%) were of potential or actual consequence. We conclude that the performance of senior emergency department staff in non-contrast cranial CT interpretation is no better than moderately good, and a large proportion of misinterpretations are of potential or actual clinical consequence.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Emergency Medicine / education
  • Emergency Medicine / standards*
  • Female
  • Head / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / standards*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiology / education
  • Radiology / standards*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*