Do prevalence expectations affect patterns of visual search and decision-making in interpreting CT colonography endoluminal videos?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Thomas R Fanshawe
  • Andrew Plumb
  • Peter Phillips
  • Emma Helbren
  • Steve Halligan
  • Stuart A Taylor
  • Alastair Gale

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Cumbria
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences
  • Loughborough University


Objectives: To assess the effect of expected abnormality prevalence on visual search and decision-making in CT Colonography (CTC).
Methods: Thirteen radiologists interpreted endoluminal CTC fly-throughs of the same group of ten patient cases, three times each. Abnormality prevalence was fixed (50%) but readers were told, before viewing each group, that prevalence was either 20%, 50% or 80% in the population from which cases were drawn. Infra-red visual search recording was used. Readers indicated seeing a polyp by clicking a mouse. Multilevel modelling quantified the effect of expected prevalence on outcomes.
Results: Differences between expected prevalences were not statistically significant for time to first pursuit of the polyp (median 0.5s, each prevalence), pursuit rate when no polyp was on-screen (median 2.7s-1, each prevalence) or number of mouse clicks (mean 0.75/video (20% prevalence), 0.93 (50%), 0.97 (80%)). There was weak evidence of increased tendency to look outside the central screen area at 80% prevalence, and reduction in positive polyp identifications at 20% prevalence.
Conclusions: This study did not find a large effect of prevalence information on most visual search metrics or polyp identification in CTC. Further research is required to quantify effects at lower prevalences and in relation to secondary outcome measures.
Advances in Knowledge: Prevalence effects in evaluating CTC have not previously been assessed. In this study, providing expected prevalence information did not have a large effect on diagnostic decisions or patterns of visual search.


Original languageEnglish
Article number20150842
JournalBritish Journal of Radiology
Issue number1060
Early online date15 Mar 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2016