(HealthDay)—Rapid antigen diagnostic tests (RADTs) can be used for accurate diagnosis of group A streptococcal (GAS) pharyngitis for management of sore throat in primary care settings, according to a study published online Sept. 8 in Pediatrics.

Wei Ling Lean, M.B.B.S., from Royal Children's Hospital in Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to identify studies evaluating the of RADTs for GAS pharyngitis.

The researchers identified 48 studies that assessed the diagnostic accuracy of GAS RADTs using throat culture on blood agar as a reference standard. Sensitivity and specificity of RADTs using overall summary estimates were 0.86 and 0.96, respectively. Estimates for pediatric data were similar. The best diagnostic accuracy was seen with molecular-based RADTs. Study methodologies varied considerably. Insufficient data prevented meta-regression/subgroup analysis within each test type.

"RADTs may not require culture backup for negative tests in most low-incidence rheumatic fever settings," the authors write.
Two study authors received funding for a 2012 study of a Quidel Corp. rapid antigen diagnostic test product.