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Palpation vs Pen Method for the Measurement of Skin Tuberculin Reaction: Results (2)

Of the 40 subjects who had an induration of 1 to 4 mm measured by the palpation method, two had an induration ^10 mm and three between 5 to 9 mm. The statistical analysis of these 40 measurements made by the two methods showed no statistically significant difference (p>0.1), (Table 1, 2nd column). Similarly, the results obtained by the two methods were analyzed for indurations of doubtful range and those in the positive range. Table 1 shows that five subjects (12.5 percent) from the negative group of palpation method were found to have doubtful (three) or positive (two) results by the pen method. Of the 75 positives at the range of 10 to 14 mm, nine subjects showed either doubtful (eight) or negative (one) results (Table 1, column 4), but these results were not statistically significantly different (p>0.1). Of the 49 subjects who showed an induration of 5 to 9 mm by the palpation method, six were positives and three were negatives (nine subjects, 18 percent).
Table 2 shows the results when the pen was used as the “standard” method, in a similar fashion as that described in Table 1. Only three subjects (8 percent) of the 38 in the range of 1 to 4 mm by the pen method were found to have an induration of 5 to 9 mm by the palpation method, and this difference was not statistically significant (p>0.1). Eight (17 percent) out of 46 with doubtful measurements (5 to 9 mm) showed either positive (five) or negative (three) reaction by the palpation method. Seven subjects (9 percent) of the 77 who had an induration 10 to 14 mm by the pen method showed doubtful result (Table 2). In all categories of induration, no statistically significant difference was found (p>0.1) between the two methods (Table 1 and 2).

Table 2—Fen vs Falpation Method When the Fen Method was Used as the Standard Method

Category Negative Doubtful Positive
Induration, mm 0 1-4 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 >25
Pen, No 1055 38 46 77 70 48 6
Palpation, ^10 mm 0 0 5 70 70 48 6
5-9 mm 0 3 38 7 0 0 0
<5 mm 1055 35 3 0 0 0 0
p Value >0.1 >0.1 >0.1 >0.1 >0.1 >0.1 >0.1

Category: Skin Tuberculin Reaction

Tags: palpation method, pen method, skin test, tuberculin

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