Although esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is usually the first procedure trainees learn, it is not known whether the involvement of a trainee affects the procedure’s complication rate, a key quality and safety indicator. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the complication rate of fellow-performed upper endoscopy differs from that of attending gastroenterologists, and whether that difference varies with the level of training. Methods Emergency room visits within 14 days of an outpatient EGD deemed to be probably or definitely related to the EGD were categorized as complications. Complication rates were calculated for attending- and trainee-performed gastrointestinal endoscopies, the latter stratified by level of training. Results Forty-five attendings and 43 fellows performed 21,899 EGDs during the study period. There were 43 complications (1.96 per 1000 EGDs). Procedures performed by any fellow were more likely to have a complication than those performed by an attending (odds ratio [OR] 2.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.17-4.6). This difference was driven by a higher rate of complications among fellows who had completed general gastroenterology training and were in advanced training (OR 3.8, 95%CI 1.76-8.04); all of these complications involved trainees in interventional endoscopy. Fellows in any year of general gastroenterology training were not more likely to cause complications than attendings. Conclusions The rate of complications from EGDs performed by fellows in their general gastroenterology training does not differ from that of attending endoscopists. The complication rate of advanced trainees exceeded that of attendings, but this is likely to be attributable to the higher-risk interventions undertaken by fellows in interventional endoscopy.
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