Quality of colonoscopy performance among gastroenterology and surgical trainees: a need for common training standards for all trainees?

Endoscopy. 2011 Nov;43(11):935-40. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1256633. Epub 2011 Oct 13.


Background and study aim: Cecal intubation and polyp detection rates are objective measures of colonoscopy performance. Minimum cecal intubation rates greater than 90% have been endorsed by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) and the Joint Advisory Group (JAG) UK. Performance data for medical and surgical trainee endoscopists are limited, and we used endoscopy quality parameters to compare these two groups.

Methods: Retrospective review of all single-endoscopist colonoscopies done by gastroenterology and surgical trainees ("registrars," equivalent to fellows, postgraduate year 5) with more than two years' endoscopy experience, in 2006 and 2007 at a single academic medical center. Completion rates and polyp detection rates for endoscopists performing more than 50 colonoscopies during the study period were audited. Colonoscopy withdrawal time was prospectively observed in a representative subset of 140 patients.

Results: Among 3079 audited single-endoscopist colonoscopies, seven gastroenterology trainees performed 1998 procedures and six surgery trainees performed 1081. The crude completion rate was 82%, 84% for gastroenterology trainees and 78% for surgery trainees (P < 0.0001). Adjusted for poor bowel preparation quality and obstructing lesions, the completion rate was 89%; 93% for gastroenterology trainees, and 84% for surgical trainees (P < 0.0001). The polyp detection rate was 19% overall, with 21% and 14% for gastroenterology and surgical trainees, respectively (P < 0.0001). The adenoma detection rate in patients over 50 was 12%; gastroenterology trainees 14% and surgical trainees 9% (P = 0.0065). In the prospectively audited procedures, median withdrawal time was greater in the gastroenterology trainee group and polyp detection rates correlated closely with withdrawal time (r = 0.99).

Conclusion: The observed disparity in endoscopic performance between surgical and gastroenterology trainees suggests the need for a combined or unitary approach to endoscopy training for specialist medical and surgical trainees.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnosis
  • Colonoscopy / education
  • Colonoscopy / standards*
  • Colorectal Surgery / education*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate*
  • Female
  • Gastroenterology / education*
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies