Trainee impact on advanced diagnostic bronchoscopy: an analysis of 607 consecutive procedures in an interventional pulmonary practice

Respirology. 2013 Jan;18(1):179-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2012.02270.x.


Background and objective: Complications during advanced diagnostic bronchoscopy are rare and include: pneumothorax, bleeding, mediastinitis and lymphadenitis. Increased complications have been demonstrated in patients undergoing routine bronchoscopy procedures performed by trainees. This study aimed to determine the impact of trainees during advanced diagnostic bronchoscopy on procedure time, sedation use and complications.

Methods: A retrospective review of a quality improvement database including consecutive pulmonary procedures performed by an interventional pulmonologist (D.R.S.) at the University of Calgary, from 1 July 2007 to 1 April 2011.

Results: Six hundred seven (55.2%) of the 1100 procedures involved an advanced diagnostic procedure defined as: endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA), electromagnetic navigation bronchoscopy (ENB) and/or peripheral EBUS. A trainee participated in 512 (84.3%) procedures. A complication occurred in 25 patients (4.1%), with a trend towards increased complication rates in the trainee group (4.7% vs 1.1%, difference 3.6%, P = 0.076). Significant differences were seen when a trainee participated versus when no trainee participated for procedure length (58.32 min vs 37.69 min, difference 20.63 min (95% confidence interval: 19.07-22.19), P = 0.001) and for the dose of propofol (178.3 mg vs 137.1 mg, difference 41.2 mg (95% confidence interval: 19.81-63.38), P = 0.002).

Conclusions: In an academic interventional pulmonology practice utilizing the apprenticeship model, trainee participation in advanced diagnostic bronchoscopy increased procedure time, increased the amount of sedation used and resulted in a trend to increased complications. Attempts to modify trainee procedural training to reduce the burden of procedural learning for patients are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Needle / adverse effects
  • Biopsy, Needle / methods*
  • Bronchoscopy / adverse effects
  • Bronchoscopy / methods*
  • Education, Continuing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / adverse effects
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / methods*