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Dermatol Res Pract. 2010;2010:764843. doi: 10.1155/2010/764843. Epub 2010 Jun 22.

The sensitivity and specificity of potassium hydroxide smear and fungal culture relative to clinical assessment in the evaluation of tinea pedis: a pooled analysis.

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1
Department of Dermatology, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There are relatively few studies published examining the sensitivity and specificity of potassium hydroxide (KOH) smear and fungal culture examination of tinea pedis.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of KOH smear and fungal culture for diagnosing tinea pedis.

METHODS:

A pooled analysis of data from five similarly conducted bioequivalence trials for antifungal drugs was performed. Data from 460 patients enrolled in the vehicle arms of these studies with clinical diagnosis of tinea pedis supported by positive fungal culture were analyzed 6 weeks after initiation of the study to determine the sensitivity and specificity of KOH smear and fungal culture.

RESULTS:

Using clinical assessment as the gold standard, the sensitivities for KOH smear and culture were 73.3% (95% CI: 66.3 to 79.5%) and 41.7% (34.6 to 49.1%), respectively. The respective specificities for culture and KOH smear were 77.7% (72.2 to 82.5%) and 42.5% (36.6 to 48.6%).

CONCLUSION:

KOH smear and fungal culture are complementary diagnostic tests for tinea pedis, with the former being the more sensitive test of the two, and the latter being more specific.

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