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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 20 (2006), Issue 8, Pages 527-530
Original Article

Survey of Clinical Nutrition Practices of Canadian Gastroenterologists

Harminder Singh and Donald R Duerksen

Department of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Received 28 December 2005; Accepted 23 January 2006

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


OBJECTIVE: Nutrition education is a required part of gastrointestinal training programs. The involvement of gastroenterologists in clinical nutrition once their training has been completed is unknown. The aim of the present study was to determine the practice pattern of gastroenterologists in clinical nutrition and their perceived adequacy of nutrition training during their gastroenterology (GI) fellowship.

METHODS: The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology mailed a survey to all of its 463 Canadian clinician members and 88 trainee members. Components of the survey included knowledge of nutritional assessment and total parenteral nutrition, involvement in a nutrition support service, physician involvement in nutritional assessment and nutrition support teams, obesity management, insertion of gastrostomy (G) tubes and management of tube-related complications, and adequacy of training in clinical nutrition.

RESULTS: Sixty per cent (n=279) of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology clinicians and 38% (n=33) of the fellows responded. Of the clinicians, 80% were practicing adult gastroenterologists with the following demographics: those practicing full time in academic centres (42%), community practice (45%), completed training in the last 10 years (32%) and those that completed training in the United States (14%). Although only 6% had a primary focus of nutrition in their GI practices, 65% were involved in nutrition support (including total parenteral nutrition), 74% placed G tubes and 68% managed at least one of the major complications of G tube insertion. Respondents felt a gastroenterologist should be the physician’s consultant on nutrition support services (89%). Areas of potential inadequate training included nutritional assessment, indications for nutrition support, management of obesity and management of G tube-related complications. The majority of clinicians (67%) and trainees (73%) felt that nutrition training in their GI fellowship was underemphasized.

CONCLUSIONS: The majority of Canadian gastroenterologists are involved in nutrition support. However, this survey demonstrated that nutritional training is underemphasized in most training programs. It is important for GI fellowship programs to develop standardized nutrition training that prepares trainees for their practice.