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Making a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis in patients with chronic back pain can be difficult at an early stage—that is, before radiographic sacroiliitis is definitely present (also referred to as axial spondyloarthritis (SpA) at the preradiographic state). We recently proposed to diagnose patients at this early stage by probability estimations1 based on a pretest probability (ppre) of 5% in patients with chronic back pain.2 To facilitate the probability calculation in each patient, we subsequently3 proposed the use of likelihood ratios (LR).4 We suggested that the diagnosis could be considered definite if the post-test probability (ppost) is ⩾90% (LR product ⩾171), probable if the post-test probability is 80–90% (LR product …
Funding: This work was supported by a grant from the BMBF (Kompetenznetz Rheuma), FKZ 01GI9946.