Three methods to construct predictive models using logistic regression and likelihood ratios to facilitate adjustment for pretest probability give similar results

J Clin Epidemiol. 2008 Jan;61(1):52-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2007.02.012. Epub 2007 Jul 16.


Objective: To compare three predictive models based on logistic regression to estimate adjusted likelihood ratios allowing for interdependency between diagnostic variables (tests).

Study design and setting: This study was a review of the theoretical basis, assumptions, and limitations of published models; and a statistical extension of methods and application to a case study of the diagnosis of obstructive airways disease based on history and clinical examination.

Results: Albert's method includes an offset term to estimate an adjusted likelihood ratio for combinations of tests. Spiegelhalter and Knill-Jones method uses the unadjusted likelihood ratio for each test as a predictor and computes shrinkage factors to allow for interdependence. Knottnerus' method differs from the other methods because it requires sequencing of tests, which limits its application to situations where there are few tests and substantial data. Although parameter estimates differed between the models, predicted "posttest" probabilities were generally similar.

Conclusion: Construction of predictive models using logistic regression is preferred to the independence Bayes' approach when it is important to adjust for dependency of tests errors. Methods to estimate adjusted likelihood ratios from predictive models should be considered in preference to a standard logistic regression model to facilitate ease of interpretation and application. Albert's method provides the most straightforward approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Smoking / adverse effects