How to use an article about a diagnostic test

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Users' guides to the surgical literature: how to use an article about a diagnostic test. Evidence-Based Surgery Working Group.
Archibald S, Bhandari M, Thoma A; Evidence-Based Surgery Working Group.
Surgical Outcomes Research Centre, Department of Surgery, St. Joseph's Hospital, Hamilton, Ont.


Of the many challenges in surgical practice, none is more arduous for you, the surgeon, than the process of refining your diagnostic skill. Typically, patients are initially evaluated by the time-honoured approaches of taking a history and performing a physical examination. Further information is often needed. Diagnostic tests are selected, performed and interpreted to best discriminate between patients who will likely benefit from surgical intervention and patients who will not. In this article on evidence-based surgery, we show how to locate the best evidence in the current literature on diagnostic tests and apply this evidence to your patient.

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