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Endgames Statistical question

Screening tests IV

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 29 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4365
  1. Philip Sedgwick, senior lecturer in medical statistics
  1. 1Centre for Medical and Healthcare Education, St George’s, University of London, Tooting, London SW17 0RE
  1. p.sedgwick{at}

    A study investigated the performance of the CAGE questionnaire as a screening tool for alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency in primary care. The CAGE questionnaire consists of four questions about alcohol behaviour, each with a “yes” or “no” response. Clinical interview was used as the diagnostic test (“gold standard”) for alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency. A total of 1970 individuals were investigated and the results obtained are shown in table 1. 1

    View this table:
    Table 1

     Cross tabulation of the number of “yes” responses on CAGE questionnaire against clinical diagnosis

    A minimum number of “yes” responses is required for the screening test to identify an individual as screen “positive” and subsequently recommend clinical interview. If the threshold for “positive” on …

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