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J Clin Epidemiol. 2003 Nov;56(11):1129-35.

The diagnostic odds ratio: a single indicator of test performance.

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Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of Amsterdam, Academic Medical Center, Post Office Box 22700, 100 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Diagnostic testing can be used to discriminate subjects with a target disorder from subjects without it. Several indicators of diagnostic performance have been proposed, such as sensitivity and specificity. Using paired indicators can be a disadvantage in comparing the performance of competing tests, especially if one test does not outperform the other on both indicators. Here we propose the use of the odds ratio as a single indicator of diagnostic performance. The diagnostic odds ratio is closely linked to existing indicators, it facilitates formal meta-analysis of studies on diagnostic test performance, and it is derived from logistic models, which allow for the inclusion of additional variables to correct for heterogeneity. A disadvantage is the impossibility of weighing the true positive and false positive rate separately. In this article the application of the diagnostic odds ratio in test evaluation is illustrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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