Background: There are limited data on the impact of feedback of incidental findings (IFs) from research imaging. We evaluated the impact of UK Biobank’s protocol for handling potentially serious IFs in a multi-modal imaging study of 100,000 participants (radiographer ‘flagging’ with radiologist confirmation of potentially serious IFs) compared with systematic radiologist review of all images. Methods: Brain, cardiac and body magnetic resonance, and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans from the first 1000 imaged UK Biobank participants were independently assessed for potentially serious IFs using both protocols. We surveyed participants with potentially serious IFs and their GPs up to six months after imaging to determine subsequent clinical assessments, final diagnoses, emotional, financial and work or activity impacts. Results: Compared to systematic radiologist review, radiographer flagging resulted in substantially fewer participants with potentially serious IFs (179/1000 [17.9%] versus 18/1000 [1.8%]) and a higher proportion with serious final diagnoses (21/179 [11.7%] versus 5/18 [27.8%]). Radiographer flagging missed 16/21 serious final diagnoses (i.e., false negatives), while systematic radiologist review generated large numbers of

incidental findings, magnetic resonance imaging, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, false positives, false negatives, research ethics,
Wellcome open research
Department of Medical Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine

Gibson, L.M., Littlejohns, T.J., Adamska, L., Garratt, S., Doherty, N, Wardlaw, J.M, … Bunnik, E.M. (2020). Impact of detecting potentially serious incidental findings during multi-modal imaging [version 3; referees: 2 approved, 1 approved with reservations]. Wellcome open research, 2. doi:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.13181.3