Background The European Respiratory Society (ERS) lung sounds repository contains 20 audiovisual recordings of children and adults. The present study aimed at determining the interobserver variation in the classification of sounds into detailed and broader categories of crackles and wheezes.
Methods Recordings from 10 children and 10 adults were classified into 10 predefined sounds by 12 observers, 6 paediatricians and 6 doctors for adult patients. Multirater kappa (Fleiss' κ) was calculated for each of the 10 adventitious sounds and for combined categories of sounds.
Results The majority of observers agreed on the presence of at least one adventitious sound in 17 cases. Poor to fair agreement (κ<0.40) was usually found for the detailed descriptions of the adventitious sounds, whereas moderate to good agreement was reached for the combined categories of crackles (κ=0.62) and wheezes (κ=0.59). The paediatricians did not reach better agreement on the child cases than the family physicians and specialists in adult medicine.
Conclusions Descriptions of auscultation findings in broader terms were more reliably shared between observers compared to more detailed descriptions.
- Clinical Epidemiology
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