Standardized nomenclature for imaging in urology is needed

13 Nov 2014 - Joel Vega

Standardized nomenclature for imaging in urology is needed

Urology experts from both sides of the Atlantic underscored the need for a standardized nomenclature for imaging in urology, a move that will not only respond to rapid changes in technology but also contribute to a more efficient and precise way of doing research and optimizing treatment procedures.

“This will be an ongoing project involving the guideline groups from both America and Europe. We have now set the stage but more needs to be done in the coming years. But what is important is to recognize the need and we have achieved this in the first phase,” said Prof. Dr. Tillmann Loch (DE) who spoke in the plenary session at the 3rd Meeting of the EAU Section of Urological Imaging (ESUI) held today in Lisbon, Portugal.

Loch said the joint project for a standardized nomenclature involved the American Urological Association (AUA) and the European Association of Urology (EAU) in a bid to streamline the language used in urological imaging. The joint committed has noted that the efficacy, safety and cost of imaging studies is highly dependent on equipment and techniques.  However, clinical studies report results for imaging studies using many variations in naming and abbreviation.

“This has led to literature searches that return studies which are highly disparate and often include imaging technologies which are not comparable. Moreover, literature searches using key terms may miss meaningful studies due to differences in naming conventions,” said Loch.

He said the consequences of insufficient literature searches resulted to labor intensive processes and incurs more costs. It may also lead to issuing key recommendations that are based on limited evidence aside from being slow and therefore dated by publication.

To address these issues, Loch said the joint committee has made recommendations such as the better assignment or formulation of terms and search words by authors. They also noted the importance of more rigorous search engines and advocated standardized imaging nomenclature used for research, publication, presentation and guidelines.

But there is also resistance to the idea of a standardized vocabulary, according to Loch as he mentioned that the most frequently used term may “not necessarily be the ‘best’ term. Furthermore, there are equally valid cultural and geographical naming conventions. There is also the perception that doctors communicate effectively using diverse terms in clinical practice.

Nevertheless, the joint committee is convinced that there are clear benefits for a standard nomenclature such as improved meta-analysis of imaging literature, improved guidelines, better clinical use, increase patient safety and decreased costs.

To realize these benefits, Loch underscored the need for acceptance and endorsement by professional organisations and the adoption of naming convention by journal editors, editorial boards, guidelines panels and researchers and clinicians themselves.