Derivation of Generalized Equations for the Predictive Value of Sequential Screening Tests

26 Jul 2020  ·  Balayla Jacques ·

Using Bayes' Theorem, we derive generalized equations to determine the positive and negative predictive value of screening tests undertaken sequentially. Where a is the sensitivity, b is the specificity, $\phi$ is the pre-test probability, the combined positive predictive value, $\rho(\phi)$, of $n$ serial positive tests, is described by: $\rho(\phi) = \frac{\phi\displaystyle\prod_{i=1}^{n}a_n}{\phi\displaystyle\prod_{i=1}^{n}a_n+(1-\phi)\displaystyle\prod_{i=1}^{n}(1-b_n)}$ If the positive serial iteration is interrupted at term position $n_i-k$ by a conflicting negative result, then the resulting negative predictive value is given by: $\psi(\phi) = \frac{[(1-\phi)b_{n-}]\displaystyle\prod_{i=b_{1+}}^{b_{(n-1)+}}(1-b_{n+})}{[\phi(1-a_{n-})]\displaystyle\prod_{i=a_{1+}}^{a_{(n-1)+}}a_{n+}+[(1-\phi)b_{n-}]\displaystyle\prod_{i=b_{1+}}^{b_{(n-1)+}}(1-b_{n+})}$ Finally, if the negative serial iteration is interrupted at term position $n_i-k$ by a conflicting positive result, then the resulting positive predictive value is given by: $\lambda(\phi)= \frac{\phi a_{n+}\displaystyle\prod_{i=a_{1-}}^{a_{(n-1)-}}(1-a_{n-})}{\phi a_{n+}\displaystyle\prod_{i=a_{1-}}^{a_{(n-1)-}}(1-a_{n-})+[(1-\phi)(1-b_{n+})]\displaystyle\prod_{i=b_{1-}}^{b_{(n-1)-}}b_{n-}}$ The aforementioned equations provide a measure of the predictive value in different possible scenarios in which serial testing is undertaken... Their clinical utility is best observed in conditions with low pre-test probability where single tests are insufficient to achieve clinically significant predictive values and likewise, in clinical scenarios with a high pre-test probability where confirmation of disease status is critical. read more

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