Inter-observer variation in the evaluation of neurological signs: patient-related factors

J Neurol. 1994 Jul;241(8):492-6. doi: 10.1007/BF00919711.


The influence of patient-related factors on inter-observer variability in the evaluation of neurological signs was investigated. Two hundred and two consecutive unselected inpatients were examined by two senior neurologists who were unaware of the neurological case history. Eight signs were evaluated: anisocoria, jerky eye movements, facial palsy, difference in elbow extension force, abnormal finger-nose test, Barré sign, difference in knee jerk, and extensor plantar reflex. Agreement rates were calculated in order to compare the inter-observer variability with reference to the patients' sex, age, mode of admission, and diagnosis at discharge. Observed agreement rates for the eight examined signs only sporadically showed statistically significant differences between the chosen patient-related factors. In general, inter-observer variation does not appear to be influenced by the sex, age, mode of admission or diagnosis at discharge of the patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Observer Variation
  • Patient Admission
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors