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Background: Sore throat is a common and self-limiting condition. There remains ambiguity in stratifying patients to immediate, delayed, or no antibiotic prescriptions. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends two clinical prediction rules (CPRs), FeverPAIN and Centor, to guide decision making. Aim: To describe the diagnostic accuracy of CPRs in identifying streptococcal throat infections. Design & setting: Adults presenting to UK primary care with sore throat, who did not require immediate antibiotics. Method: As part of the Treatment Options without Antibiotics for Sore Throat (TOAST) trial, 565 participants, aged ≥18 years, were recruited on day of presentation to general practice. Physicians could opt to give delayed prescriptions. CPR scores were not part of the trial protocol but were calculated post hoc from baseline assessments. Diagnostic accuracy was calculated by comparing scores with throat swab cultures. Results: It was found that 81/502 (16.1%) patients had group A, C, or G streptococcus cultured on throat swab. Overall diagnostic accuracy of both CPRs was poor: area under receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve 0.62 for Centor; and 0.59 for FeverPAIN. Post-test probability of a positive or negative test was 27.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 6.0% to 61.0%) and 84.1% (95% CI = 80.6% to 87.2%) for FeverPAIN ≥4; versus 25.7% (95% CI = 16.2% to 37.2%) and 85.5% (95% CI = 81.8% to 88.7%) for Centor ≥3. Higher CPR scores were associated with increased delayed antibiotic prescriptions (χ2 = 8.42, P = 0.004 for FeverPAIN ≥4; χ2 = 32.0, P<0.001 for Centor ≥3). Conclusion: In those who do not require immediate antibiotics in primary care, neither CPR provides a reliable way of diagnosing streptococcal throat infection. However, clinicians were more likely to give delayed prescriptions to those with higher scores

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