Publication Abstract

Authors: Dee KE, Sickles EA

Title: Medical audit of diagnostic mammography examinations: comparison with screening outcomes obtained concurrently.

Journal: AJR Am J Roentgenol 176(3):729-33

Date: 2001 Mar

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: We performed a medical audit of our diagnostic mammography practice and compared clinical outcomes with those of screening mammography examinations performed concurrently. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed 46,857 consecutive mammography examinations (10,007 diagnostic, 36,850 screening) from 1997 to 2000, including data on demographics, image interpretation, and biopsy (including size, nodal status, and cancer stage). RESULTS: The mean age at diagnostic mammography was 55.8 years (mean age at screening mammogram, 59.1 years; p < 0.0001). Among patients who underwent diagnostic examinations, 14.7% had a strong or very strong family history of breast cancer (screening, 11.6%; p < 0.0001). Examination findings were interpreted as abnormal in 14.4% (screening, 5.2%; p < 0.0001). Biopsy was performed in 11.9% (screening, 1.4%; p < 0.0001). Forty-six percent of the biopsies were positive for malignancy (screening, 38%; p < 0.0001). The cancer detection rate was 55 per 1000 (screening, 5/1000; p < 0.0001). Of cancers found, 74.4% were stage 0 or I (screening, 89.3%; p < 0.0001), average size was 18.0 mm (screening, 12.9 mm; p < 0.0001), and axillary nodes were positive for malignancy in 19.9% of invasive cancers (screening, 6.3; p < 0.0001). Differences between diagnostic and screening outcomes were attributable predominantly to the subgroup of diagnostic examinations performed for evaluation of palpable masses. CONCLUSION: Medical auditing of diagnostic mammography examinations yields substantially different results compared with those of screening examinations, including different patient demographics; higher number of positive biopsies; higher cancer detection rates; and larger, more advanced-stage cancers. Diagnostic and screening data should be segregated during auditing, or if this is not possible, analysis of combined results should be based on known differences between diagnostic and screening outcomes.