OBJECTIVE: Using video-EEG (v-EEG) diagnosis as a gold standard, we assessed the predictive diagnostic value of home videos of spells with or without additional limited demographic data in US veterans referred for evaluation of epilepsy. Veterans, in particular, stand to benefit from improved diagnostic tools given higher rates of PNES and limited accessibility to care.
METHODS: This was a prospective, blinded diagnostic accuracy study in adults conducted at the Houston VA Medical Center from 12/2015-06/2019. Patients with a definitive diagnosis of epileptic seizures (ES), psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES), or physiologic nonepileptic events (PhysNEE) from v-EEG monitoring were asked to submit home videos. Four board-certified epileptologists blinded to the original diagnosis formulated a diagnostic impression based upon the home video review alone and video plus limited demographic data.
RESULTS: Fifty patients (30 males; mean age 47.7 years) submitted home videos. Of these, 14 had ES, 33 had PNES, and three had PhysNEE diagnosed by v-EEG. The diagnostic accuracy by video alone was 88.0%, with a sensitivity of 83.9% and specificity of 89.6%. Providing raters with basic patient demographic information in addition to the home videos did not significantly improve diagnostic accuracy when comparing to reviewing the videos alone. Inter-rater agreement between four raters based on video was moderate with both videos alone (kappa = 0.59) and video plus limited demographic data (kappa = 0.60).
SIGNIFICANCE: This study demonstrated that home videos of paroxysmal events could be an important tool in reliably diagnosing ES vs. PNES in veterans referred for evaluation of epilepsy when interpreted by experts. A moderate inter-rater reliability was observed in this study.