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Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2005 Mar-Apr;71(2):168-71. Epub 2005 Aug 2.

Role of rapid antigen detection test for the diagnosis of group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus in patients with pharyngotonsillitis.

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  • 1Division of Clinical Otorhinolaryngology, Hospital das ClĂ­nicas, Medical School, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, SP.


Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus (GAS) is an important pharyngotonsillitis etiologic agent. Correct etiologic diagnosis and early treatment prevent suppurative and non-suppurative complications of streptococcal pharyngotonsillitis; however, clinical diagnosis is not reliable. Within this context, rapid detection methods of GAS antigen are useful to diagnose this agent.


The objective of the present study was to determine sensitivity and specificity of rapid GAS antigen detection tests used in Brazil.


Clinical prospective.


Eighty-one patients with clinical diagnosis of acute pharyngotonsillitis seen at the otorhinolaryngology emergency department of the University Hospital, FMUSP, between May 2001 and April 2002 were submitted to two simultaneous collections of oropharyngeal material using swabs. The rapid GAS antigen detection test was compared to culture on blood agar, the gold standard for the diagnosis of this etiologic agent.


Among the 81 patients studied, the rapid test was positive in 56% and negative in 44%. GAS growth in culture was observed in 40.7% of the patients. Sensitivity and specificity of the rapid test were, respectively, 93.9% and 68.7%, and the negative and positive predictive values were 94.2 and 67.4%, respectively.


We concluded that high sensitivity of the test allows its use in the identification of patients with GAS. Rapid streptococcal antigen detection tests have been shown to be an important adjuvant tool in the etiologic diagnosis of pharyngotonsillitis.

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