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Venous volume displacement plethysmography: Its diagnostic value in deep venous thrombosis as determined by receiver operator characteristic curves

  • Kevin J. McBride
  • Thomas F. O'Donnell
  • Stephen G. Pauker
  • Victor A. Millan
  • Allan D. Callow
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1981
  • Medicine


The pitfall of several reviews of noninvasive venous assessment has been the expression of the test data solely in terms of diagnostic accuracy (the number of correct tests in ratio to all tests performed), where results of a test will vary according to disease prevalence. The advantages of receiver operator characteristic curve analysis are twofold: (1) it describes the dynamic relationship between sensitivity (the ratio of the number of true positive tests to the patients with deep venous thrombosis) and specificity (the ratio of true negative tests to the number of patients with no deep venous thrombosis) independent of disease prevalence; and (2) the threshold criteria that defines a positive test can be set by the best balance between sensitivity and specificity and then applied to a given patient population for its diagnostic accuracy.

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