Arthur T. Evans, MD, MPH
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Evans A.; Mammography and Palpable Breast Abnormalities. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140:764. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-140-9-200405040-00024
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2004;140(9):764.
TO THE EDITOR:
In their article on evaluation of abnormal mammography results and palpable breast abnormalities, Kerlikowske and colleagues (1) calculated likelihood ratios correctly but incorrectly defined the term in their footnotes to Tables 2, 3, and 5. They defined a likelihood ratio as “the ratio of diseased to nondiseased persons for a given test result.” A hypothetical example illustrates why this is incorrect. If among patients with a positive test result 90 had a given disease and 1 did not, and if among patients with a negative test result 10 had the disease and 9 did not, the ratio of diseased to nondiseased persons for a positive test result would be 90 to 1. However, the likelihood ratio for a positive test result would be 90%/10%, or 9. Very different.
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