Interpretation of radiographs: how good are Nigeria-trained radiographers?

Christopher Chukwuemeka Ohagwu, Christopher Ekene Ilounoh, Cletus Uche Eze, Kalu Ochie, Rajuno Eteng, Uchenna Echefu, Andrew Uche Geprge


Background. There is a shortage of radiologists in many countries, including Nigeria, which means that many radiographic examinations are unreported. Radiographers may be able therefore provide expert opinions on radiographs in the absence of a radiologist. 

Purpose. The study aimed to assess the performance of Nigerian-trained radiographers in the interpretation of radiographic images from a selected range of commonly performed radiographic investigations.

Methods. Ten Nigeria-trained radiographers participated in the study to interpret radiographs (films) from 1189 radiographic examinations. The interpretations of participant were compared with the reports of radiologists, which were regarded as the gold standard. The sensitivity, specificity and accuracy of the participants’ interpretations were then determined.

Results. An overall sensitivity of 89.8%, a specificity of 93.5%, and an accuracy of 92.3% were achieved by the participants. Those with post-basic training in radiographic image interpretation performed significantly better than those without post-basic training (p < 0.0001). 

Conclusion. The performance of the selected Nigeria-trained radiographers in radiographic image interpretation was good when compared with the reports of radiologists. Post-basic training in x-ray film interpretation may result in higher accuracy. It is recommended that Nigerian radiographers with post-basic image interpretation training should assume x-ray film interpretation roles in public hospitals in Nigeria to reduce the number of unreported examinations in view of a shortage of radiologists.


radiographer reporting, post-basic training, image interpretation

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The South African Radiographer | ISSN 0258 0241

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