Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 647–650

Simplifying likelihood ratios

Brief Reports

DOI: 10.1046/j.1525-1497.2002.10750.x

Cite this article as:
McGee, S. J GEN INTERN MED (2002) 17: 647. doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2002.10750.x


Likelihood ratios are one of the best measures of diagnostic accuracy, although they are seldom used, because interpreting them requires a calculator to convert back and forth between “probability” and “odds” of disease. This article describes a simpler method of interpreting likelihood ratios, one that avoids calculators, nomograms, and conversions to “odds” of disease. Several examples illustrate how the clinician can use this method to refine diagnostic decisions at the bedside.

Key words

likelihood ratio diagnostic accuracy 

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Washington Seattle-Puget Sound VA Health Care System (S-111 GIMC)Seattle

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