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Medicineworld.org: How Accurate Are The Medical Tests?

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How Accurate Are The Medical Tests?

How Accurate Are The Medical Tests?
Anyone who visits a doctor is familiar with diagnostic tests. The results are either negative (no disease), or they indicate an underlying disease and are used to guide therapy decisions. But how reliable is the evidence from studies evaluating the accuracy of medical tests?.

To determine a test's accuracy, scientists compare its results with those of a "gold standard" -- commonly a more definitive test but one that is too costly, time-consuming or risky. However, shortcomings in study design and methodology are known to affect estimations of accuracy.

In this issue, Anne Rutjes and his colleagues report on their analysis of 487 primary studies of test evaluations to determine if the published results were accurate. Surprisingly, they found that only one of the studies had no design deficiencies. Studies that included patients with severe disease and healthy control subjects were most likely to overestimate accuracy. Thus, the test would perform well among patients with obvious and severe disease, but it would be much less accurate when used to detect mild or early disease.

In an accompanying commentary, Toshi Furukawa and Gordon Guyatt underscore the importance of the study by Rutjes and his colleagues. They see diagnosis and test performance as proceeding in a stepwise fashion, starting with a set of symptoms and signs. Knowing the accuracy of a test in a real clinical setting is critical, as is knowledge of the accuracy of the gold standard.



Posted by: Sue    Read more.....




Did you know?
Anyone who visits a doctor is familiar with diagnostic tests. The results are either negative (no disease), or they indicate an underlying disease and are used to guide therapy decisions. But how reliable is the evidence from studies evaluating the accuracy of medical tests?.

Medicineworld.org: How Accurate Are The Medical Tests?

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