To the Editor.
—The DST is an important development in the diagnostic approach to depression. After Dr Carroll's original publication (Archives 1981;38:15-22), correspondence from Drs Murphy and Cochran expressed concern about the diagnostic value of the DST and its application to populations with a prevalence differing from Dr Carroll's original patient group. The results of the following study should be of interest.Fifteen psychiatry residents at a univesity teaching program completed the following questionnaire related to the DST: The DST in your facility has been shown to be 70% sensitive and 95% specific. The test will be applied to a large group of psychiatric patients where the prevalence of endogenous depression is 1%. If the test is positive in an individual patient, what is your diganostic confidence that the patient has endogenous depression?
Young MJ. Dexamethasone Suppression Test and Diagnosis of Melancholia. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(10):1218–1219. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290100074016
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