Background: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in pediatric patients. Traditional teaching holds that specific types of CHD can be diagnosed on the chest radiograph (CXR) through pattern recognition. Objective: To determine the accuracy of radiologists in detecting CHD on the CXR. Materials and methods: This study was a blinded retrospective review of chest radiographs from 281 patients (<12 years) by five pediatric radiologists from three institutions. Thirteen groups were evaluated that included 12 categories of CHD and a control group of patients without heart disease. Radiographs were assessed for heart size, heart and mediastinal shape and vascularity. Clinical information, angiography, echocardiograms and surgery were used as the gold standard for definitive diagnosis. Results: The average accuracy of the five readers in distinguishing normal from CHD patients was 78% (range of 72% to 82%). The overall measure of accuracy in distinguishing specific congenital cardiac lesions among 13 groups of patients was 71% (range of 63% to 79%). Conclusion: CXR alone is not diagnostic of specific cardiac lesions, with a low accuracy of only 71%. We believe that less emphasis should be placed on the use of radiographs alone in diagnosing specific congenital cardiac lesions.
- Cardiovascular malformations
- Chest radiograph
- Congenital heart disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging