Satisfaction of search (SOS) error is a common error in diagnostic radiology. It occurs when the reporting radiologist fails to continue to search for subsequent abnormalities after identifying an initial one. This initial detection of an abnormality satisfies the "search for meaning" and the reporting of the case is prematurely ended 1,2.
In emergency medicine, satisfaction of search errors are referred to as premature closure 3. This may entail identifying two or more totally independent pathologies or two or more findings which together take a case from a differential list to a definitive diagnosis.
Perceptual capture of attention
The theory that one identifies an abnormality halts a search early, is only one of the many theories into how SOS errors occur. Studies have suggested that an initial captured lesion/abnormality may divert precise cognitive attention leading to perceptual errors rather than search errors 4.
- 1. Kim YW, Mansfield LT. Fool me twice: delayed diagnoses in radiology with emphasis on perpetuated errors. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2014;202 (3): 465-70. doi:10.2214/AJR.13.11493 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Ashman CJ, Yu JS, Wolfman D. Satisfaction of search in osteoradiology. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2000;175 (2): 541-4. doi:10.2214/ajr.175.2.1750541 - Pubmed citation
- 3. Kumar B, Kanna B, Kumar S. The pitfalls of premature closure: clinical decision-making in a case of aortic dissection. (2011) BMJ case reports. doi:10.1136/bcr.08.2011.4594 - Pubmed
- 4. Berbaum KS, Franken EA, Dorfman DD, Rooholamini SA, Kathol MH, Barloon TJ, Behlke FM, Sato Y, Lu CH, el-Khoury GY. Satisfaction of search in diagnostic radiology. (1990) Investigative radiology. 25 (2): 133-40. Pubmed