Inter- and intra-observer variability of radial-endobronchial ultrasound image interpretation for peripheral pulmonary lesions

Nathaniel Moulton, Mohammed Abbasi, Danish Ahmad, Allen Burks, Praveen Chenna, Kevin Haas, Andrea Loiselle, Essam Mekhaiel, Suchitra Pilli, Ali Sadoughi, Brandt Lydon, Tej Patel, Alexander C. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Radial probe endobronchial ultrasound (R-EBUS) is often utilized in guided bronchoscopy for the diagnosis of peripheral pulmonary lesions. R-EBUS probe positioning has been shown to correlate with diagnostic yield, but overall diagnostic yield with this technology has been inconsistent across the published literature. Currently there is no standardization for R-EBUS image interpretation, which may result in variability in grading concentricity of lesions and subsequently procedure performance. This was a survey-based study evaluating variability among practicing pulmonologists in R-EBUS image interpretation. Methods: R-EBUS images from peripheral bronchoscopy cases were sent to 10 practicing Interventional Pulmonologists at two different time points (baseline and 3 months). Participants were asked to grade the images as concentric, eccentric, or no image. Cohen’s Kappa-coefficient was calculated for inter- and intra-observer variability. Results: A total of 100 R-EBUS images were included in the survey. There was 100% participation with complete survey responses from all 10 participants. Overall kappa-statistic for inter-observer variability for Survey 1 and 2 was 0.496 and 0.477 respectively. Overall kappa-statistic for intra-observer variability between the two surveys was 0.803. Conclusions: There is significant variability between pulmonologists when characterizing R-EBUS images. However, there is strong intra-rater agreement from each participant between surveys. A standardized approach and grading system for radial EBUS patterns may improve inter-observer variability in order to optimize our clinical use and research efforts in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-456
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thoracic Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Radial probe endobronchial ultrasound (R-EBUS)
  • navigational bronchoscopy
  • observer variability
  • peripheral bronchoscopy
  • peripheral pulmonary lesions


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