Wheezes, crackles and rhonchi: simplifying description of lung sounds increases the agreement on theirclassification: a study of 12 physicians' classification of lung sounds from video recordings
AuthorMelbye, Hasse; Garcia-Marcos, Luis; Brand, Paul; Everard, Mark; Priftis, Kostas; Pasterkamp, Hans
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.