Background: The beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test (BeLPT) is used to identify persons with beryllium sensitization. The variability of laboratory results and lack of a "gold standard" have led to questions about the test's performance. Fortunately, a recently published study has credibly estimated standard epidemiologic parameters for the BeLPT.
Methods: Information from this recent study was used to assess the performance of two common algorithms for BeLPT testing. Standard epidemiologic parameters were determined for two common algorithms and then compared.
Results: One of the two algorithms was more sensitive than the other (86% vs. 66%). The specificity of both algorithms (99.8% or greater) was high. At an estimated 2% prevalence, the positive predictive value of both algorithms for beryllium sensitization remained high (90% or higher).
Conclusions: A priori characterization of the testing algorithm under consideration can enhance public health decision-making.
Am. J. Ind. Med. 49:36-44, 2006. (c) Published 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.