Abdominopelvic CT in COVID-19 patients with abdominal complaints including both waves and controls: reader agreement and overcalls after consensus review
Max S Schechter, Devaraju Kanmaniraja, Robert G Berkenblit, Kenny Ye, Steven Shamah, Victor Janmey, Judy Yee, Zina J Ricci
Clin Imaging . 2023 Oct 7:104:109988. doi: 10.1016/j.clinimag.2023.109988. Online ahead of print.
Background: Since many COVID-19 publications lack consensus reviews or controls, interpretive accuracy is unclear; abdominal processes unique or infrequent during the pandemic remain unknown. The incidence and nature of CT findings accounting for abdominal complaints in COVID patients, reader agreement and overcalling will be determined.
Methods: A retrospective study was performed on COVID patients with abdominal complaints from 3/15/2020-5/31/2020 and 11/1/2020-4/15/2021 including matched controls. Reviewers blinded to initial reads interpreted abdominopelvic CT exams, with discordant cases resolved in consensus. Reader agreement was measured by Cohen's Kappa, differences between cohorts by permutation tests and factors affecting false positive/negative rates by Fisher's Exact Test and logistic regression.
Results: 116 first wave (average age 65 years [±15.3], 63 [54%] women) and 194 second wave COVID cases (average age 64 years [±16.3], 103 [53%] women) including 116 wave 1 and 194 wave 2 prepandemic controls were included. Concordance was lower among COVID cases than controls (Cohen's Kappa of 0.58 vs. 0.82 [p ≤ 0.001]) and among wave 1 than wave 2 cases (Cohen's Kappa of 0.45 vs. 0.66 [p = 0.052]). With true positives defined as consensus between the initial reader and study reader, false positive rates were higher among COVID cases than controls (OR = 0.42, p = 0.003) and for initial than study reader (OR = 0.36, p ≤ 0.001), but lower in wave 2 than 1 (OR = 0.5, p = 0.028).
Conclusion: Greater reader disagreement occurred during COVID than prepandemic with no reader bias as both initial and study readers called more false positives among COVID cases than controls. More overcalling occurred during COVID with colitis and cystitis most common.