Practice patterns in reporting interstitial lung abnormality at a tertiary academic medical center
Joanna G Escalon, Anna J Podolanczuk, Kerri I Aronson, Alan C Legasto, James F Gruden, David A Lynch, Leena Rachid, Yana Rabkova, Sharon Steinberger
Clin Imaging . 2023 Oct 14:104:109996. doi: 10.1016/j.clinimag.2023.109996. Online ahead of print.
Purpose: Interstitial lung abnormality (ILA) is a common finding on chest CTs and is associated with higher all-cause mortality. The 2020 Fleischner Society position paper standardized the terminology and definition of ILA. Despite these published guidelines, the extent to which radiologists use this term is unknown. We evaluated practice patterns for identification of ILAs among radiologists at a tertiary academic medical center.
Methods: In this retrospective review, we identified 157 radiology reports between January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2021 containing the phrase "interstitial lung abnormality" or "interstitial abnormality". After exclusions, 125 CT scans were reviewed by thoracic-trained radiologists using the sequential reading method.
Results: Seventy-seven (62%) patients were found to have ILA (69% subpleural fibrotic, 19% subpleural non-fibrotic, and 6% non-subpleural), nine (7%) were equivocal for ILA and 39 (31%) had no ILA. The term ILA was used exclusively by thoracic-trained radiologists except for two cases. Use of the term ILA has rapidly increased since the position paper publication (none from 2010-2017, one case in 2018, 20 cases in 2019, 41 cases in 2020, and 73 cases in 2021), and cases were typically very mild (1-25% of the lung).
Conclusion: While there has been increased use of the term ILA among thoracic-trained radiologists, non-thoracic radiologists have essentially not begun to use the term. Almost one-third of cases labeled ILA on clinical reads were re-classified as not having ILA on research reads.