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Evaluation of a chest radiograph reading and recording system for tuberculosis in a HIV-positive cohort

  • 2017/02/21
Type of publication
  • Articles
  • Kosack CS
  • Spijker S
  • Halton J
  • Bonnet M
  • Nicholas S
  • Chetcuti K
  • Mesic A
  • Brant WE
  • Joekes E
  • Andronikou S
  • Tuberculosis


To assess the impact of introducing a chest radiograph reading and recording system (CRRS) with a short training session, on the accuracy and inter-reader variability of tuberculosis (TB) interpretation of chest radiographs (CXRs) by a group of non-expert readers in a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive cohort.


A set of 139 CXRs was reviewed by a group of eight physicians pre- and post-intervention at two clinics in Shan State, Myanmar, providing HIV/TB diagnosis and treatment services. The results were compared against the consensus of expert radiologists for accuracy.


Overall accuracy was similar pre- and post-intervention for most physicians with an average area under the receiver operating characteristic curve difference of 0.02 (95% confidence interval: -0.03, 0.07). The overall agreement among physicians was poor pre- and post-intervention (Fleiss κ=0.35 and κ=0.29 respectively). The assessment of agreement for specific disease patterns associated with active TB in HIV-infected patients showed that for intrinsically subtle findings, the agreement was generally poor but better for the more intrinsically obvious disease patterns: pleural effusion (Cohen's kappa range = 0.37-0.67) and milliary nodular pattern (Cohen's kappa range = 0.25-0.52).


This study demonstrated limited impact of the introduction of a CRRS on CXR accuracy and agreement amongst non-expert readers. The role in which CXRs are used for TB diagnosis in a HIV-positive cohort in similar clinical contexts should be reviewed.