Use of a continuing medical education course to improve fellows' knowledge and skills in esophageal disorders

H. C. Kim*, J. E. Pandolfino, S. Komanduri, I. Hirano, E. R. Cohen, D. B. Wayne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Advanced esophageal endoscopic procedures such as stricture dilation, hemostasis tools, and stent placement as well as high-resolution manometry (HRM) interpretation are necessary skills for gastroenterology fellows to obtain during their training. Becoming proficient in these skills may be challenging in light of higher complication rates compared with diagnostic procedures and infrequent opportunities to practice these skills. Our aim was to determine if intensive training during a continuing medical education (CME) course boosts the knowledge and skills of gastroenterology fellows in esophageal diagnostic test interpretation and performance of therapeutic procedures. This was a pretest-posttest design without a control group of a simulation-based, educational intervention in esophageal stricture balloon dilation and HRM interpretation. The participants were 24 gastroenterology fellows from 21 accredited US training programs. This was an intensive CME course held in Las Vegas, Nevada from August 7 to August 9, 2009. The research procedure had two phases. First, the subjects were measured at baseline (pretest) for their knowledge and procedural skill. Second, the fellows received 6 hours of education sessions featuring didactic content, instruction in HRM indications and interpretation, and deliberate practice using an esophageal stricture dilation model. After the intervention, all of the fellows were retested (posttest). A 17-item checklist was developed for the esophageal balloon dilation procedure using relevant sources, expert opinion, and rigorous step-by-step procedures. Nineteen representative HRM swallow studies were obtained from Northwestern's motility lab and formed the pretest and posttest in HRM interpretation. Mean scores on the dilation checklist improved 81% from 39.4% (standard deviation [SD]= 33.4%) at pretest to 71.3% (SD = 29.5%) after simulation training (P < 0.001). HRM mean examination scores increased from 27.2% (SD = 16.4%) to 46.5% (SD = 15.8%), representing a 71% improvement (P < 0.001). Pearson's correlations indicated there was no correlation between pretest performance, medical knowledge measured by United States Medical Licensing Examination examinations, prior clinical experience, or procedural self-confidence and posttest performance of esophageal dilation or HRM interpretation. The education program was rated highly. This study demonstrated that a CME course significantly enhanced the technical skills and knowledge of gastroenterology fellows in esophageal balloon dilation and HRM interpretation. CME courses such as this may be a valuable adjunct to standard fellowship training in gastroenterology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-394
Number of pages7
JournalDiseases of the Esophagus
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Esophageal dilation
  • Fellowship education
  • High-resolution manometry
  • Simulation-based education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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