Background: The Chlamydia IgG antibody test (CAT) shows considerable variations in reported estimates of test accuracy, partly because of the use of different assays and cut-off values. The aim of this study was to reassess the accuracy of CAT in diagnosing tubal pathology by individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis for three different CAT assays.
Methods: We approached authors of primary studies that used micro-immunofluorescence tests (MIF), immunofluorescence tests (IF) or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay tests (ELISA). Using the obtained IPD, we performed pooled receiver operator characteristics analysis and logistic regression analysis with a random effects model to compare the three assays. Tubal pathology was defined as either any tubal obstruction or bilateral tubal obstruction.
Results: We acquired data of 14 primary studies containing data of 6191 women, of which data of 3453 women were available for analysis. The areas under the curve for ELISA, IF and MIF were 0.64, 0.65 and 0.75, respectively (P-value < 0.001) for any tubal pathology and 0.66, 0.66 and 0.77, respectively (P-value = 0.01) for bilateral tubal pathology.
Conclusions: In Chlamydia antibody testing, MIF is superior in the assessment of tubal pathology. In the initial screen for tubal pathology MIF should therefore be the test of first choice.