Competency in esophagogastroduodenoscopy: a validated tool for assessment and generalizable benchmarks for gastroenterology fellows

ACE Research Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: The Assessment of Competency in Endoscopy (ACE) tools for colonoscopy and EGD were both put forth by the Training Committee of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), with the intent of providing teachers and programs a means to continuously assess fellow skills in these procedures throughout their years of training. Despite the availability of the tools, there are no data that define when competency in EGD has been reached. The goal of this study is to validate the EGD ACE tool (ACE-E) and for the first time describe learning curves and competency benchmarks for EGD by examining a large national cohort of trainees. Methods: In a prospective, multicenter trial, gastroenterology fellows at all stages of training had their core cognitive and motor skills in EGDs assessed by staff using the ACE-E tool. Evaluations occurred at set intervals of every 50 procedures over an academic year. Like the previously reported and validated ACE tool for colonoscopy, the ACE-E tool uses a 4-point grading scale to define a skills continuum from novice to competent. At each assessment interval, average scores for each skill were computed and overall competency benchmarks for each skill were established using the contrasting groups method. Results: Ninety-six GI fellows at 10 U.S. academic institutions had 1002 EGDs assessed using the ACE-E tool. Average ACE-E scores of 3.5 were found to be inclusive of all minimal competency thresholds identified for each core skill. In addition, independent intubation of the second part of the duodenum (D2) at rates of ≥95% as well as D2 intubation times of ≤4.75 minutes and average total procedure times of ≤12.5 minutes were identified as the points separating competent from non-competent groups. Although the average fellow achieves the D2 intubation rates and time criteria by 100 and 150 procedures, respectively, achieving ACE-E threshold scores on the remaining metrics was typically not achieved until 200 to 250 procedures. Conclusions: Nationally generalizable learning curves for EGD skills in GI fellows are described. Average ACE-E scores of 3.5, independent D2 intubation rates of 95%, and D2 intubation times of ≤4.75 minutes are recommended as minimum competency criteria. On average, it takes GI fellows only 150 procedures to simply drive the scope adequately but 250 procedures to achieve minimum competence in the remaining cognitive and motor skills. The D2 intubation rate threshold and learning curve found in this multicenter cohort using the ACE-E tool are similar to those recently described by researchers in the United Kingdom; however, development of cognitive and overall competence requires a higher procedure threshold than previously described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-620.e1
JournalGastrointestinal endoscopy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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