Clinical identification of neonatal seizures (NS) remains challenging. The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Task Force on Neonatal Seizures has proposed a new classification of NS, based on the 2017 ILAE seizure classification. One of the key points of this proposed NS classification is that seizure types should be determined by the “predominant” clinical feature. However, when the definition of “predominant” is uncertain, interobserver variability may arise.
We asked 49 health professionals to classify 21 NS video-electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings using the proposed 9 seizure types.
The degree of agreement among participants was low, and agreement was weak among experts in neonatal neurology. Among experts, the rate of agreement was <50% for 2 NS. This disagreement was related to differences in the interpretation of "predominant features." Although interobserver variability was present among users of the new NS classification, the reproducibility of the NS classification was satisfactory.
Education designed to foster consistent application of the standards for NS will be important for reducing interobserver variability and expanding the use of the new NS classification.
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