What is the role of rapid antigen detection test (RADT) in the diagnosis of tonsillitis and peritonsillar abscess (PTA)?

Updated: Apr 06, 2020
  • Author: Udayan K Shah, MD, FACS, FAAP; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

A rapid antigen detection test (RADT), also known as the rapid streptococcal test, detects the presence of GABHS cell wall carbohydrate from swabbed material and is considered less sensitive than throat cultures; however, the test has a specificity of 95% or more and produces a result in significantly less time than that required for throat cultures. A negative RADT requires that a throat culture be obtained before excluding GABHS infection.

A culture or RADT is not indicated in most cases following antibiotic therapy for acute GABHS pharyngitis. Routine testing of asymptomatic household contacts is similarly not usually warranted.


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