An evaluation of radiographers’ extended practice in the detection of brain metastases on magnetic resonance images

L. McDaid, C. L. Eccles, J. Yorke

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Introduction: Patients who undergo magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to confirm or rule out metastatic brain disease are required to wait for image review by a radiologist before leaving the department at the institute where this study was carried out. The aim was to evaluate whether radiographers can review images and reduce waiting times in those patients without metastases. Methods: Prospective observational study of MR radiographers (n = 11) was undertaken. Radiographers commented on images to confirm whether the images showed evidence of metastatic disease, pathology but no metastases, or no pathology. Responses were compared to the radiological report (reference standard). Online questionnaires determined the views and opinions of radiographers (n = 8) and consultant radiologists (n = 6) towards radiographers expanding their scope of practice to include the confirmation or exclusion of brain metastases. Results: Despite a lack of formal training for image reviewing, overall level of agreement between the radiographer reviews and reference standard was 77.9 % (κ = 0.45). Pooled sensitivity and specificity were 88.6 % & 71.3 % respectively. Kendall's τ = −0.03 (bootstrap 95 % CI -0.73 to 0.61, p = 0.925). Positive predictive value (PPV) was 65.5 % (CI 59.2%–71.4 %) and negative predictive value (NPV) 91.1 % (CI 84.9%–94.9 %). Radiographers and radiologists surveyed demonstrated a willingness to engage with role expansion. Conclusion: Based on our small study and interdisciplinary survey, local radiographers and radiologists agree, following a program of radiographer training, screening for brain metastases by radiographers could be implemented. Implications for practice: With appropriate governance and training support, the introduction of formal radiographer screening for patients referred to exclude brain metastases could provide more efficient working practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-318
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain metastases
  • Radiographer role expansion
  • Radiographer screening
  • Triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Assessment and Diagnosis


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