BACKGROUND: Training in advanced endoscopic techniques such as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) should be driven by key performance measures and standardized competence assessment in order to provide safe and high-quality interventions. We aimed to determine whether the involvement of trainees influences the outcome of the procedure and the incidence of ERCP-related adverse events.
METHODS: This was an international, multicenter, prospective, observational study conducted at six high- and low-volume centers across Europe between October 2016 and October 2018, and included independent operators and their trainees. Standard report forms documenting indication, trainee involvement, technical outcome, and complications over a 30-day follow-up of consecutive ERCP procedures were included in the analysis. Technical success of the procedure and procedure-related adverse events were compared between procedures in the trainee group and the control group using bivariable and multivariable analysis.
RESULTS: 21 trainees and 16 control endoscopists performed 1843 ERCPs during the study period. Trainee involvement in ERCP procedures did not decrease technical success (92.4 % vs. 93.7 %; P = 0.30) or increase the risk of adverse events (14.7 % vs. 14.6 %; P > 0.99). Conversely, there were significantly more moderate or severe adverse events in the control group compared with the trainee group (6.2 % vs. 3.4 %, P = 0.01). On multivariable analysis, only increased bilirubin levels, time to cannulation, and procedure difficulty level increased the risk of any procedure-related adverse event.
CONCLUSION: Trainee involvement in ERCP interventions within a proper teaching setting is safe and does not compromise the success of the procedure.