Background: Aim of the study was to evaluate the value of automated breast ultrasound (AUS) in women with dense breast, in terms of reading times, diagnostic performance and interobserver agreement. The assessment of coronal images alone versus the complete multiplanar (MPR) views was evaluated. Methods: Between August and October 2017, consecutive patients with dense breast that were referred to our Institute, for post-mammography ultrasound assessment, pre-operative assessment or follow-up of known benign lesions, were invited to undergo an additional study with AUS. Three radiologists, (5, 15 and 25 years of experience in breast imaging), reviewed the exams twice: first assessing reconstructed coronal images alone, second the complete MPR views. Reading times, diagnostic performance and interobserver agreement were assessed. Results: One hundred eighty-eight women were included, for a total of 67 breast lesions, 25 (37%) malignant and 42 (63%) benign. Compared to MPR, coronal view was associated with: lower reading times, respectively, for the three readers: 83 ± 37, 84 ± 43 and 76 ± 30 versus 163 ± 109, 131 ± 57, 151 ± 42 s (p < 0.035); lower sensitivity: 44.8%, 62.1%, 55.2% versus 69.0% (p = 0.059), 65.5% (p = 0.063), 72.4% (p = 0.076), respectively; better specificity: 94.1%, 93.7%, 94.2% versus 89.5% (p = 0.093), 87.4% (p = 0.002), 91.6% (p = 0.383), respectively. Agreement between the most and the least experienced reader was fair to moderate for categorical variables and significant for continuous ones. Conclusion: The coronal view allows significantly lower reading times, a valuable feature in the screening setting, but its diagnostic performance makes the complete multiplanar assessment mandatory.
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