Objective—To determine whether substantial interobserver
variation exists among diagnostic pathologists
for descriptions of intestinal mucosal cell populations
and whether histopathologic descriptions
accurately predict when a patient does not have clinically
evident intestinal disease.
Sample Population—14 histologic slides of duodenal,
ileal, or colonic tissue from 10 dogs and 3
Procedure—Each histologic slide was evaluated
independently by 5 pathologists at 4 institutions.
Pathologists, who had no knowledge of the tissues'
origin, indicated whether slides were adequate for
histologic evaluation and whether the tissue was normal
or abnormal. They also identified the main infiltrating
cell type in specimens that were considered
abnormal, and whether infiltrates were mild, moderate,
severe, or neoplastic.
Results—Quality of all slides was considered adequate
or superior by at least 4 of the 5 pathologists.
For intensity of mucosal cellular infiltrates, there was
uniformity of opinion for 1 slide, near-uniformity for 6
slides, and nonuniformity for 7 slides. Five dogs did
not have clinical evidence of intestinal disease, yet
the pathologists' descriptions indicated that their
intestinal tissue specimens were abnormal.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Substantial
interobserver variation was detected. Standardization
of pathologic descriptions of intestinal tissue is necessary
for meaningful comparisons with published
articles. Clinicians must be cautious about correlating
clinical signs and histopathologic descriptions of
intestinal biopsy specimens. (J Am Vet Med Assoc