Auditing a breast MRI practice: performance measures for screening and diagnostic breast MRI

Bethany L. Niell, Sara C. Gavenonis, Tina Motazedi, Jessica Chubiz, Elkan P. Halpern, Elizabeth A. Rafferty, Janie M. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Breast MRI is increasingly used for both screening and diagnostic purposes. Although performance benchmarks for screening and diagnostic mammography have been published, performance benchmarks for breast MRI have yet to be established. The purpose of this study was to comprehensively evaluate breast MRI performance measures, stratified by screening and diagnostic indications, from a single academic institution.

METHODS: Institutional review board approval was acquired for this HIPAA-compliant study. Informed consent was not required. Retrospective review of the institutional database identified all breast MRI examinations performed from April 1, 2007, to March 31, 2008. After application of exclusion criteria, the following performance measures for screening and diagnostic indications were calculated: cancer detection rate, positive predictive value (PPV), and abnormal interpretation rates.

RESULTS: The study included 2,444 examinations, 1,313 for screening and 1,131 for diagnostic indications. The cancer detection rates were 14 per 1,000 screening breast MRI examinations and 47 per 1,000 diagnostic examinations (P < .00001). The abnormal interpretation rate was 12% (152 of 1,313) for screening and 17% (194 of 1,131) for diagnostic indications (P = .00008). The PPVs of MRI were lower for screening [PPV1 (abnormal findings) = 12%, PPV2 (biopsy recommended) = 24%, PPV3 (biopsy performed) = 27%] compared with diagnostic indications (PPV1 (abnormal findings) = 28%, PPV2 (biopsy recommended) = 36%, PPV3 (biopsy performed) = 38%].

CONCLUSIONS: Breast MRI performance measures differ significantly between screening and diagnostic MRI indications. Medical audits for breast MRI should calculate performance measures for screening and diagnostic breast MRI separately, as recommended for mammography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)883-889
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Radiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014


  • Audit
  • abnormal interpretation rate
  • breast MRI
  • cancer detection rate
  • positive predictive value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Auditing a breast MRI practice: performance measures for screening and diagnostic breast MRI'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this