A trial of proficiency of nerve conduction: Greater standardization still needed.

Muscle & Nerve

PubMedID: 23861198

Dyck PJ, Albers JW, Wolfe J, Bolton CF, Walsh N, Klein CJ, Zafft AJ, Russell JW, Thomas K, Davies JL, Carter RE, Melton LJ, Litchy WJ, Clinical vs. Neurophysiology Trial 3 Investigators. A trial of proficiency of nerve conduction: Greater standardization still needed. Muscle Nerve. 2013;48(3):369-74.
INTRODUCTION
The aim of this study was to test the proficiency (accuracy among evaluators) of measured attributes of nerve conduction (NC).

METHODS
Expert clinical neurophysiologists, without instruction or consensus development, from 4 different medical centers, independently assessed 8 attributes of NC in 24 patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) on consecutive days.

RESULTS
No significant intraobserver differences between days 1 and 2 were found, but significant interobserver differences were seen. Use of standard reference values did not correct for these observed differences.

CONCLUSIONS
Interobserver variability was attributed to differences in performance of NC. It was of sufficient magnitude that it is of concern for the conduct of therapeutic trials. To deal with interrater variability in therapeutic trials, the same electromyographers should perform all NC assessments of individual patients or, preferably, NC procedures should be more standardized. A further trial is needed to test whether such standardization would eliminate interobserver variability. Muscle Nerve, 2013.