Objectives: To understand the status of education and problems in paediatric rheumatology practice in Europe, through a survey.
Methods: A 26-item questionnaire was conducted during the 14th Congress of the Paediatric Rheumatology European Society in Istanbul, 2007. Physicians who were practicing or studying within the field of paediatric rheumatology for at least one year were included in the survey.
Results: One hundred and twenty eight physicians, 79 paediatric rheumatologists (including 5 paediatric immunologists and 10 paediatric nephrologists), 34 paediatric rheumatology fellows and 15 adult rheumatologists completed the survey. The physicians were from: Europe 95 (81.9%), South America 12 (10.4%), Middle East 5 (4.3%), Asia 2 (1.7%), Africa 2 (1.7%). The duration of training for paediatric rheumatology ranged between 1-5 years (mean: 3.12+/-1.11). Sixty physicians scored their education as unsatisfactory and among those, 48 physicians were from Europe. Physicians reported good skills in the following items; intraarticular injections (83.3%); soft tissue injections (47.6%); evaluation of radiographs (67.5%); whereas competence in the evaluation of computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (30.5%); and musculoskeletal sonography (16.7%) was much lower. A need for improved basic science and rotations among relevant fields were specifically expressed.
Conclusion: Being a relatively new speciality in the realm of paediatrics, paediatric rheumatology education at the European level needs to be further discussed, revised and uniformed.