Interobserver reliability of video recording in the diagnosis of nocturnal frontal lobe seizures

Luca Vignatelli, Francesca Bisulli, Federica Provini, Ilaria Naldi, Francesca Pittau, Anna Zaniboni, Pasquale Montagna, Paolo Tinuper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Nocturnal frontal lobe seizures (NFLS) show one or all of the following semeiological patterns: (1) paroxysmal arousals (PA: brief and sudden recurrent motor paroxysmal behavior); (2) hyperkinetic seizures (HS: motor attacks with complex dyskinetic features); (3) asymmetric bilateral tonic seizures (ATS: motor attacks with dystonic features); (4) epileptic nocturnal wanderings (ENW: stereotyped, prolonged ambulatory behavior). Objective: To estimate the interobserver reliability (IR) of video-recording diagnosis in patients with suspected NFLS among sleep medicine experts, epileptologists, and trainees in sleep medicine. Methods: Sixty-six patients with suspected NFLS were included. All underwent nocturnal video-polysomnographic recording. Six doctors (three experts and three trainees) independently classified each case as "NFLS ascertained" (according to the above specified subtypes: PA, HS, ATS, ENW) or "NFLS excluded". IR was calculated by means of Kappa statistics, and interpreted according to the standard classification (0.0-0.20 = slight agreement; 0.21-0.40 = fair; 0.41-0.60 = moderate; 0.61-0.80 = substantial; 0.81-1.00 = almost perfect). Results: The observed raw agreement ranged from 63% to 79% between each pair of raters; the IR ranged from "moderate" (kappa = 0.50) to "substantial" (kappa = 0.72). A major source of variance was the disagreement in distinguishing between PA and nonepileptic arousals, without differences in the level of agreement between experts and trainees. Conclusions: Among sleep experts and trainees, IR of diagnosis of NFLS, based on videotaped observation of sleep phenomena, is not satisfactory. Explicit video-polysomnographic criteria for the classification of paroxysmal sleep motor phenomena are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1506-1511
Number of pages6
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • Diagnosis
  • Nocturnal frontal lobe seizures
  • Parasomnias
  • Paroxysmal motor phenomena during sleep
  • Reliability of results
  • Video-recording

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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