On May 12, 2016, three Duke Regional Anesthesiology & Acute Pain Medicine fellows, Drs. Evan Sutton, Irfan Samee, and Siddharth Sata, visited Belgium for a week-long observership as part of the newly established fellowship exchange program with the New York School of Regional Anesthesia-Center for Research Education and Enhanced Recovery (NYSORA-CREER) in Genk, Belgium. They visited three different sites during the trip, including the Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg (ZOL) hospital where Dr. Admir Hadzic leads the NYSORA-CREER fellowship, the KU Leuven University Hospital in Leuven, and an off-site orthopedic surgery center (part of KU Leuven).
During the first two days of the trip, they spent time at the ZOL hospital in Genk where the fellows and perioperative team engaged in an exchange of ideas about regional anesthesia techniques, strategies and practices. Events included a full tour of the hospital, observation of a variety of ultrasound-guided regional nerve blocks and perioperative workflow. The focus of an academic conversation centered around a research protocol “writing bootcamp” where the fellows brainstormed ideas for a regional technique for analgesia after anterior total hip arthroplasty surgery. In collaboration with Dr. Admir Hadzic, Dr. Catherine Vandepitte and the ZOL fellows, the fellows drafted a protocol to study the efficacy of a suprainguinal fascia iliaca block for anterior total hip arthroplasty. The ZOL team is planning to implement this study at their institution with the potential of creating a multicenter study involving Duke University Medical Center.
Day three of the trip began with a visit to the KU Leuven University Hospital, hosted by Dr. Steven Coppens, which included a full tour of the perioperative areas of one of Europe’s largest and oldest hospitals. They observed a variety of peripheral and neuraxial blocks, and engaged in an exchange of ideas and practice techniques with the fellows at the KU Leuven program. They discussed challenging cases and ongoing research conducted by the KU Leuven team. On day four, the fellows visited UZ Leuven Pellenberg, an off-site surgery center located about six miles east of the university hospital in the scenic Belgian countryside. Here, the fellows took part in discussions with UZ Leuven anesthesiologists, residents, and fellows, and observed the perioperative workflow in a fast-paced regional anesthesia focused arena while learning about the Belgian culture.