On May 12, 2016 the three Duke Regional and Ambulatory Anesthesia fellows, Evan Sutton, Irfan Samee, and Siddharth Sata visited Belgium for a week long observership as part of the newly established fellowship exchange program with NYSORA – CREER in Genk, Belgium. They visited three different sites during the trip including the 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 that is part of KU-Leuven.

On day one and two, they spent time at the ZOL hospital in Genk where the fellows and perioperative team engaged in an exchange of ideas on regional anesthesia techniques, strategies, and practice. Events included a full tour of the hospital, observation of a variety of ultrasound-guided regional nerve blocks and the perioperative workflow. The focus of an academic conversation was a research protocol writing “boot-camp”. The fellows brainstormed ideas for a regional technique for postoperative analgesia after anterior total hip arthroplasty. In collaboration with Dr. Hadzic, Dr. Catherine Vandepitte, and the ZOL fellows, the Duke 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 multi-center study involving Duke University Medical center.


On day three the fellows visited the KU-Leuven university hospital and were hosted by Dr. Steven Coppens. The visit 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 exchanged ideas and practice techniques with the fellows at the KU-Leuven program. They also 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 approximately 6 miles east of the university hospital in the beautiful Belgian countryside. Here the fellows participated in morning case discussions with UZ Leuven anesthesiologists, residents, and fellows, and observed the perioperative workflow in a fast-paced regional anesthesia-focused arena.


The fellows gathered with the Belgian attendings and fellow physicians outside the hospital to learn about Belgian culture, lifestyle, and food.  An excellent camaraderie was formed, paving the way for future exchanges for both the Duke and NYSORA-CREER fellows.