PMID: 12058777Jun 13, 2002Paper

The benefit of negative tests in non-ulcer dyspepsia

Medical Decision Making : an International Journal of the Society for Medical Decision Making
A Sonnenberg, Nimish Vakil


Negative diagnostic tests are usually evaluated by their ability to advance a diagnostic search, or they are considered redundant expenditures in establishing a definitive diagnosis. It has remained difficult to assess their benefit in terms of their own merit and the reassurance that they provide to a patient. The aim of the present study is to develop a mathematical model for quantifying the impact of diagnostic tests on a patient's health-related quality of life (HRQL). An influence diagram is used to model how non-ulcer dyspepsia (NUD) and its medical care affect HRQL. Diagnostic tests and medical therapy benefit HRQL by alleviating fear of disease and NUD symptoms. Medical care can also adversely affect HRQL, lead to expenses in time and money, and compromise a patient's sense of autonomy. HRQL is modeled as the focal point of multiple influences detracting from its value. Negative diagnostic tests can improve HRQL in NUD. The improvement of HRQL by diagnostic tests depends on a multitude of individual influences and the interactions between them, such as the severity of NUD symptoms andfear of disease, as well as the impact of medical care itself on HRQL. If a patient harbors a strong fear of serious disease or cancer, mo...Continue Reading


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