discriminant function(redirected from discriminant functions)
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a particular combination of continuous variable test results designed to achieve separation of groups; for example, a single number representing a combination of weighted laboratory test results designed to discriminate between clinical classes.
Any algorithm or assessment tool to evaluate disease severity or guide clinical or administrative decisions in health care. In gastroenterology, e.g., a discriminant function is commonly used to gauge the severity of alcoholic hepatitis. It uses two variables, the patient's measured protime (PT) and total serum bilirubin level. The difference between the patient's PT and the control PT is multiplied by 4.6 and added to the bilirubin level. If the derived number is greater than 32, the patient may benefit from treatment with corticosteroids or pentoxifylline.
See also: function