Breast Arterial Calcifications on Mammography: A Survey of Practicing Radiologists
Purpose or Learning Objective To explore current practice patterns of reporting and issuing recommendations based on the presence of breast arterial calcifications on mammography and existing knowledge of their prevalence and associated factors.
Methods or Background An online anonymous 19-question survey was distributed to 2583 practicing radiologists who were members of the Society of Breast Imaging. Questions covered demographics, breast imaging training, practice type, and knowledge regarding the epidemiology and potential clinical significance of breast arterial calcifications detected on mammograms. Differences between groups were calculated using the chi-square test or Fisher exact test. An α level of 0.05 was used to determine statistical significance.
Results or Findings Response rate was 22% (364/1662). The median age of respondents was 51 years (range: 29–76) and most were female (248/323, 77%). The most prevalent characteristics among respondents were as follows: 69% (223/323) had completed a breast imaging fellowship, 55% (179/323) were in private practice, 49% (158/323) practiced dedicated breast imaging, and 38% (124/323) had been in practice for more than 20 years. The prevalence of breast arterial calcifications was correctly estimated to be 1%–30% by 39% (125/323) of respondents. Most respondents correctly recognized the growing evidence of an association between breast arterial calcifications and coronary artery disease (275/323, 85%). However, only 15% (48/323) always reported the presence of these calcifications, and of those who report them at any time, only 0.7% (2/274) always issued recommendations.
Conclusion There are differences in both knowledge of the epidemiology of breast arterial calcifications and practices around their reporting amongst breast radiologists.