Detailing Test Characteristics for Probabilistic Networks

  • Danielle Sent
  • Linda C. van der Gaag
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2780)


In the medical domain, establishing a diagnosis typically amounts to reasoning about the unobservable truth, based upon a set of indirect observations from diagnostic tests. A diagnostic test may not be perfectly reliable, however. To avoid misdiagnosis, therefore, the reliability characteristics of the test should be taken into account upon reasoning. In this paper, we address the issue of modelling such characteristics in a probabilistic network. We argue that the standard reliability characteristics that are generally available from the literature have to be further detailed, for example by experts, before they can be included in a network. We illustrate this and related modelling issues by means of a real-life probabilistic network in oncology.


Diagnostic Test Prior Probability Positive Test Result Parameter Probability Disease Variable 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Fletcher, R.H., Fletcher, S.W., Wagner, E.H.: Clinical Epidemiology. The Essentials. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore (1996)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sox, H.C., Blatt, M.A., Higgins, M.C., Marton, K.I.: Medical Decision Making. Butterworth Publishers, Boston (1988)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Diagnostisch Kompas. College voor Zorgverzekeringen, Amstelveen (1999)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jensen, F.V.: An Introduction to Bayesian Networks. UCL Press, London (1996)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    van der Gaag, L.C., Witteman, C.L.M., Renooij, S., Egmont-Petersen, M.: The effects of disregarding test characteristics in probabilistic networks. In: Quaglini, S., Barahona, P., Andreassen, S. (eds.) AIME 2001. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2101, pp. 188–198. Springer, Heidelberg (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    van der Gaag, L.C., Renooij, S., Witteman, C.L.M., Aleman, B.M.P., Taal, B.G.: Probabilities for a probabilistic network: a case study in oesophageal cancer. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine 25(2), 123–148 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Weinstein, M.C., Fineberg, H.V.: Clinical Decision Analysis. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia (1980)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle Sent
    • 1
  • Linda C. van der Gaag
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Information and Computing SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtthe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations