Survey of endoscopic ultrasonographic practice and training in the Asia-Pacific region

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Abstract

Background

Little is known about the current status of endoscopic ultrasonography (EUS) training in the Asia–Pacific region. The aim of the present study was to assess EUS practice and training in the Asia–Pacific region and seek to identify areas where the development of EUS expertise could be further enhanced.

Methods

A direct mail survey was sent out to 87 practising endosonographers in various parts of the Asia–Pacific region outside of Japan. They were asked to report on their prior training, utilization of EUS, and EUS training in their country.

Results

The respondents (n = 71) were mostly young (median age 40 years), male (97%), practising in academia (36.6%) or public hospitals (50.7%) and fairly experienced (median 5 years) in EUS practices; they had performed a median of 500 procedures in their career. Among them, 49.3% were self-taught. Only 22.5% and 21.1% had undergone formal overseas fellowship lasting ≥6 months, and local gastrointestinal fellowships of various durations, respectively. Fifty-six percent were currently involved in EUS teaching. Most (90%) thought that a formal EUS training fellowship is necessary for acquiring acceptable competence and there should be a minimum number (median 100) of supervised procedures performed and minimum amount of time (median 6 months) spent on training.

Conclusions

Although EUS practitioners in the Asia–Pacific region were not behind their European or US counterparts in hands-on experience, the lack of formal EUS training programs and opportunities remains an area of concern. For the region to increase EUS utilization, the current shortage of training opportunities needs to be addressed.

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