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February 22, 1971

Laboratory Profile Screening

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1971;215(8):1327. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180210071026

To the Editor.—  Rardin in his report of Laboratory Profile Screening (214:1262, 1970) has done a great disservice to those of us who daily debate the value of these profiles in our office and look for confirmatory evidence of their benefit and economy.Rardin denies any attempt to determine the predictive value of abnormal screening tests, yet he states "why not extend our physical examination into a thorough chemical analysis of the blood...?"The object of screening for disease is to uncover those among the seemingly well who are in fact suffering from disease.1 Including patients requiring diagnostic work-ups because of illness is inappropriate in a report on screening. Nor is it meaningful to include patients with known diagnoses in whom "screening" merely confirms the presence of disease.If we analyze the 31 patients in Rardin's groups B and C who developed new diseases after initial screening failed