Inter-rater agreement on identification of electrographic seizures and periodic discharges in ICU EEG recordings

Clin Neurophysiol. 2015 Sep;126(9):1661-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2014.11.008. Epub 2014 Nov 20.


Objective: This study investigated inter-rater agreement (IRA) among EEG experts for the identification of electrographic seizures and periodic discharges (PDs) in continuous ICU EEG recordings.

Methods: Eight board-certified EEG experts independently identified seizures and PDs in thirty 1-h EEG segments which were selected from ICU EEG recordings collected from three medical centers. IRA was compared between seizure and PD identifications, as well as among rater groups that have passed an ICU EEG Certification Test, developed by the Critical Care EEG Monitoring Research Consortium (CCEMRC).

Results: Both kappa and event-based IRA statistics showed higher mean values in identification of seizures compared to PDs (k=0.58 vs. 0.38; p<0.001). The group of rater pairs who had both passed the ICU EEG Certification Test had a significantly higher mean IRA in comparison to rater pairs in which neither had passed the test.

Conclusions: IRA among experts is significantly higher for identification of electrographic seizures compared to PDs. Additional instruction, such as the training module and certification test developed by the CCEMRC, could enhance this IRA.

Significance: This study demonstrates more disagreement in the labeling of PDs in comparison to seizures. This may be improved by education about standard EEG nomenclature.

Keywords: Continuous monitoring; EEG; ICU EEG monitoring; Inter-rater agreement; Periodic discharge; Seizure detection.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Electroencephalography / standards*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / standards*
  • Observer Variation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures / diagnosis*
  • Seizures / physiopathology*