Discordance between appropriate use criteria for nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging from different specialty societies: A potential concern for health policy

David E. Winchester, David Wolinsky, Rebecca J. Beyth, Leslee J. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE: Appropriate use criteria (AUC) assist health care professionals in making decisions about procedures and diagnostic testing. In some cases, multiple AUC exist for a single procedure or test. To date, the extent of agreement between multiple AUC has not been evaluated. OBJECTIVE: To measure discordance between the American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) AUC and the American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for gauging the appropriateness of nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Retrospective cohort study at an academically affiliated Veterans Affairs medical center. Participants were Veteran patients who underwent nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging between December 2010 and July 2011 with rating of appropriateness by the ACCF and ACR criteria. Analysis was performed in March 2015. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primaryoutcome was the agreement of appropriateness category as measured by k statistic. The secondary outcome was a comparison of nuclear myocardial perfusion imaging results and frequency of ischemia across appropriateness categories for the 2 rating methods. RESULTS: Of 67 indications in the ACCF AUC, 35 (52.2%) could not bematched to an ACR rating, 18 (26.9%) had the same appropriateness category, and 14 (20.9%) disagreed on appropriateness. The study cohort comprised 592 individuals. Their mean (SD) age was 62.6 (9.4) years, and 570 of 592 (96.2%) were male. When applied to the patient cohort, 111 patients (18.8%) could not be matched to an ACR rating, 349 patients (59.0%) had the same appropriateness category for the ACR and ACCF methods, and 132 patients (22.3%) were discordant. Overall, the agreement of appropriateness between the 2 methods was poor (k = 0.34, P < .001). Ischemia was rare among patients rated as "inappropriate" by the ACCF AUC (1 of 39 patients [2.6%]), while ischemia was more common among patients rated as "usually not appropriate" by the ACR Appropriateness Criteria (14 of 80 patients [17.5%]). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Substantial discordance may exist between methods for assessing the appropriateness of advanced imaging tests. Discordance in methods may translate into differences in clinically relevant outcomes, such as the detection of myocardial ischemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-210
Number of pages4
JournalJAMA Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes


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