Interpretation of pediatric x-ray films by emergency department pediatricians

Ann Emerg Med. 1983 Mar;12(3):153-8. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(83)80557-5.


This study compared the interpretation of pediatric roentgenograms by emergency department pediatricians and radiologists. Data were available from 532 of 600 children who had 564 radiographic studies during a six-week period: 217 examinations of the chest, 200 of the extremities, 74 of the skull, 35 of the abdomen, and 38 of miscellaneous structures. The emergency department pediatricians and the radiologists were in agreement in 91.1% of the cases. Among the 50 of 564 (8.9%) discordant studies, only seven (1.2%) required changes in therapy. The results attest to the accuracy of emergency department pediatricians in interpreting the usual types of films ordered in their department. However, this group specifically erred in the identification of subtle fractures and the detection of abnormalities incidental to the primary purpose for which the film was obtained. Future educational programs should address these areas of deficiency.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 100 to 299
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care*
  • Pediatrics* / standards
  • Pennsylvania
  • Radiography*
  • Radiology* / standards