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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 341

Understanding and using sensitivity, specificity and predictive values

Department of Laboratory Medicine, Al-Azhar University-Gaza, PO Box (1277), Gaza, Palestine

Date of Web Publication19-Jun-2008

Correspondence Address:
Younis Abed EL-Wahhab Skaik
16/46 Omar Al-Mokhtar Street, AL-Rimal, Gaza, Palestine

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0301-4738.41424

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How to cite this article:
Skaik YA. Understanding and using sensitivity, specificity and predictive values. Indian J Ophthalmol 2008;56:341

How to cite this URL:
Skaik YA. Understanding and using sensitivity, specificity and predictive values. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2008 [cited 2020 Apr 7];56:341. Available from: http://www.ijo.in/text.asp?2008/56/4/341/41424

Dear Editor,

I have read with interest the article entitled "Understanding and using sensitivity, specificity and predictive values" by Parikh et al. [1] However, I partially disagree with the authors' view in the concept of diagnostic test, and subsequently the concept of sensitivity and specificity mentioned through the article. Firstly, the authors mention in the first paragraph "The basic idea of performing a diagnostic test is to increase (or decrease) our suspicion that a patient has a particular disease"; what they mention is not always the purpose of a diagnostic test, as in some cases what we are looking for is to select a healthy sample from the target population. [2] In the second paragraph, the authors stressed on the concept of diagnostic test, which just referred to diseased patients, and they excluded the healthy ones from the definition. Secondly, the true positive and true negative [TP and TN] depends on the point we are interested in, in our research. [3] The importance of sensitivity and specificity in any research, when comparing two tests (the new one versus the gold standard) depends on the purpose of the study. Finally, the paper failed to discuss the methods used to calculate both the sensitivity and specificity in the absence of gold standard methods. They also missed to cite in the article Galen et al. [4] who invented the method of sensitivity and specificity.

  References Top

Parikh R, Mathai A, Parikh S, Chandra Sekhar G, Thomas R. Understanding and using sensitivity, specificity and predictive values. Indian J Ophthalmol 2008;56:45-50.  Back to cited text no. 1
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Lewis SM, Bain BJ, Bates I. Practical haematology. 9 th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Churchill Livingstone; 2001. p. 630.  Back to cited text no. 2
Lewis SM, Osei-Bimpong A, Bradshaw A. Measurement of haemoglobin as a screening test in general practice. J Med Screen 2004;11:103-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
Galen RS, Gambino SR. Beyond normality-the predictive value and efficiency of medical diagnosis. New York, NY:Wiley; 1975.   Back to cited text no. 4

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1 Authorsę reply
Parikh, R., Mathai, A., Parikh, S., Sekhar, G., Thomas, R.
Indian Journal of Ophthalmology. 2008; 56(4): 341


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