1. The ability to appreciate by one or more of the senses. 2. State of being sensitive. SYN: esthesia (2). 3. In clinical pathology and medical screening, the proportion of affected individuals who give a positive test result for the disease that the test is intended to reveal, i.e., true positive results divided by total true positive and false negative results, usually expressed as a percentage. Cf.:specificity (2). [L. sentio, pp. sensus, to feel]
- acquired s. SYN: allergy (1).
- analytical s. 1. the minimum detection limit; 2. the degree of response to a change in concentration of analyte being measured in an assay.
- antibiotic s. microbial susceptibility to antibiotics. SEE ALSO: antibiotic s. test, minimal inhibitory concentration.
- clinical s. test positivity in disease; ability of a test to correctly identify disease. SEE ALSO: diagnostic s..
- contrast s. in optics, the ability to discern the difference in brightness of adjacent areas; in radiology, allergic reaction to iodinated radiographic contrast medium.
- diagnostic s. the probability (P) that, given the presence of disease (D), an abnormal test result (T) indicates the presence of disease; i.e., P(T/D). SEE ALSO: clinical s..
- induced s. SYN: allergy (1).
- multiple chemical s. a symptom array of variable presentation attributed to recurrent exposure to known environmental chemicals at dosages generally below levels established as harmful; complaints involve multiple organ systems. SYN: environmental illness.
- pacemaker s. the minimum cardiac activity required to consistently trigger a pulse generator.
- photoallergic s. photosensitization.
- primaquine s. nonimmunologic inborn s. to primaquine, causing hemolysis on exposure to the drug, due to deficiency of glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase in red cells.
- relative s. the s. of a medical screening test as determined by comparison with the same type of test; e.g., s. of a new serologic test relative to s. of an established serologic test.
- salt s. the tendency of certain bacterial suspensions to agglutinate spontaneously in physiologic saline solution.
- spectral s. the reciprocal of the amount of monochromatic radiation that produces a fixed response.

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sen·si·tiv·i·ty .sen(t)-sə-'tiv-ət-ē n, pl -ties the quality or state of being sensitive: as
a) the capacity of an organism or sense organ to respond to stimulation: IRRITABILITY
b) the quality or state of being hypersensitive

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1. (in microbiology) the degree to which a disease-causing organism responds to treatment by antibiotic or other drugs.
2. (in preventive medicine) a measure of the reliability of a screening test based on the proportion of people with a specific disease who react positively to the test (the higher the sensitivity the fewer false negatives). This contrasts with specificity, which is the proportion of people free from disease who react negatively to the test (i.e. the higher the specificity the fewer the false positives). Though these are theoretically independent variables, most screening tests are so designed that if the sensitivity is increased the specificity is reduced and the number of false positives may rise to wasteful proportions.

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sen·si·tiv·i·ty (sen″sĭ-tivґĭ-te) 1. the state or quality of being sensitive. 2. the smallest concentration of a substance that can be reliably measured by a particular analytical method. 3. the conditional probability that a person having a disease will be correctly identified by a clinical test, i.e., the number of true positive results divided by the total number with the disease (which is the sum of the numbers of true positive plus false negative results). Cf. specificity and predictive value.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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