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February 10, 1969

Accuracy of the X-ray Report

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiology, Sacred Heart Hospital, Spokane,Wash.

JAMA. 1969;207(6):1140-1141. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03150190062016

In the early days of diagnostic roentgenology, pioneers often were disheartened when they realized that their diagnoses were more often wrong than right. The time between World Wars I and II saw the specialty develop from a crude science to an indispensable part of medical diagnosis. This period was characterized by fundamental studies establishing the roentgen criteria for diagnosis of many disease processes. As roentgenologic reports became more accurate and reliable, physicians relied increasingly on this diagnostic method and the volume of examinations grew at an astounding rate. In spite of this rapid advance and acceptance, serious students of the specialty began to question the specificity of certain roentgen findings and, in the 1930's and 1940's, became aware that instead of 3 or 4, as many as 100 or more different etiologic agents could produce somewhat similar roentgen findings in the lung fields. During this same period, variations and inconsistencies