Generalized periodic discharges and 'triphasic waves': A blinded evaluation of inter-rater agreement and clinical significance.


Journal Article

Generalized periodic discharges (GPDs) are associated with nonconvulsive seizures. Triphasic waves (TWs), a subtype of GPDs, have been described in relation to metabolic encephalopathy and not felt to be associated with seizures. We sought to establish the consistency of use of this descriptive term and its association with seizures.11 experts in continuous EEG monitoring scored 20 cEEG samples containing GPDs using Standardized Critical Care EEG Terminology. In the absence of patient information, the inter-rater agreement (IRA) for EEG descriptors including TWs was assessed along with raters' clinical EEG interpretation and compared with actual patient information.The IRA for 'generalized' and 'periodic' was near-perfect (kappa=0.81), but fair for 'triphasic' (kappa=0.33). Patients with TWs were as likely to develop seizures as those without (25% vs 26%, N.S.) and surprisingly, patients with TWs were less likely to have toxic-metabolic encephalopathy than those without TWs (55% vs 79%, p<0.01).While IRA for the terms "generalized" and "periodic" is high, it is only fair for TWs. EEG interpreted as TWs presents similar risk for seizures as GPDs without triphasic appearance. GPDs are commonly associated with metabolic encephalopathy, but 'triphasic' appearance is not predictive.Conventional association of 'triphasic waves' with specific clinical conditions may lead to inaccurate EEG interpretation.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Foreman, B; Mahulikar, A; Tadi, P; Claassen, J; Szaflarski, J; Halford, JJ; Dean, BC; Kaplan, PW; Hirsch, LJ; LaRoche, S; Critical Care EEG Monitoring Research Consortium (CCEMRC),

Published Date

  • February 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 127 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 1073 - 1080

PubMed ID

  • 26294138

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26294138

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-8952

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1388-2457

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.clinph.2015.07.018


  • eng