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usually preceded by "maximum" (that is, maximum likelihood ratio), this ratio maximizes the probability that the parameters in the ratio agree with the empirically observed data.
like·li·hood ra·ti·o (līk'lē-hud rā'shē-ō)
The ratio of the probability of a test result among patients with a certain disease or disorder to the probability of that same test result among patients who do not have the targeted disease or disorder.
likelihood ratio (līk′lē-hood″),
A statistical tool used to help determine the usefulness of a diagnostic test for including or excluding a particular disease. An LR = 1 suggests that the test ordered neither helps to diagnose the disease in question nor helps to rule it out. Higher LRs increase the probability that the disease will be present; LRs < 1.0 decrease the probability that the disease is present.
A positive LR can be thought of as the probability that someone with a suspected condition will, accurately, have a positive test result, divided by the probability that a healthy person will, inaccurately, test positive for the disease. Mathematically this can be represented by the following equation: LR+ = sensitivity of the test/ (1− specificity of the test). A negative LR is the probability that a sick person will fail to be detected by the test, divided by the probability that a healthy person will be accurately shown by the test to have no sign of disease. Mathematically: LR− = (1 − sensitivity of the test) / specificity of the test.
likelihood ratio The percentage of ill people with a given test result divided by the percentage of well people with the same result. Ratios near unity should not influence decisions. This useful guide to refining clinical diagnosis is little used mainly because of its complexity; The Fagan nomogram can simplify the matter.