1970-2000 The largest separate unit

The field of pulmonology

The operations of the current department of pulmonology at the Tampere University Hospital is a direct continuation of the tuberculosis programmes started in Pikonlinna at the beginning of the 1930s. This field of medicine, which was originally called ”tuberculology”, developed into “tubercolology and thoraric diseases”, and eventually into the modern term “pulmonology” we now use. The pulmonology department , which is presently in the main building of the Tampere University Hospital, is Tampere’s oldest continuously operating medical department, whose initial stage coincided with the foundation of Pikonlinna.

In the 1930s the treatment of tuberculosis mainly focused on the prevention of the infection and the improvement of the general state of health among the infected. Artificial pneumothorax and other operations were carried out alongside the preventive measures until they were superseded by medical treatment in the 1950s. Effective medications like what we have today were introduced at the end of the 1960s. At that time the incidence of tuberculosis had already started to decline and the hospital stays had become shorter. Numerous hospital beds became available when medication rendered patients non-contagious in two weeks and allowed them to complete the last six months of their treatment at home.

As the tuberculosis situation improved and treatment became more outpatient-oriented, many hospital beds in Pikonlinna became vacant for other uses. At the same time so called new pulmonary diseases started to manifest, such as lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), work-related lung diseases and sleep-related breathing disorders. The afore-mentioned lung diseases were earlier poorly understood and diagnosed/treated accordingly.

Tuberculosis sanatoriums were built with the intent to isolate contagious carriers. Patients remained contagious for a long time and their treatment periods were long. Thanks to effective medical care, the risk of transmission started to diminish. At present untreated tuberculosis patients are considered non-contagious after two weeks of treatment.

Instead of hospital care, current preference is towards outpatient care, which has been supported by the rise of general standard of living and education. Also with respect to the treatment, the focus has shifted towards outpatient therapy. This trend began in the 1980s. Earlier diagnostics rendered the patient confined to bed for long periods of time. But as procedures developed and attitudes changed it became clear that many procedures could just as easily be conducted on an outpatient basis. Of course, the situation is different if the patient absolutely needs hospital care because of his/her illness. Patient care started to be geared towards outpatient services when medical procedures became more developed and efficient. Patients have always preferred outpatient care to hospital care.

The conversion of a tuberculosis sanitarium into a lung clinic was a radical and demanding process. The unit had to react to changes occurring both in society and in the epidemiology of diseases. The conversion brought about significant educational and administrative reforms, as well as changes in the staff structure, job descriptions and number.

When the sanatorium started its operations the number of the staff totalled 47, wheras presently there are approximately a hundred employees in the lung clinic of the Tampere University Hospital. In 2010 the lung clinic had about 10,000 outpatient visits and its subordinate sleep clinic had about 6,000 outpatient visits. The lung clinic provided 10,229 bed-days and 2,107 therapy sessions, which means that the average length of stay was a little less than five days. The reforms that took place in the operations of the other clinics also played a significant role in the change process (radiology, clinical physiology, oncology, thorax surgery, pathology, laboratory medicine, physiotherapy, neurophysiology, etc.)

The transfer of the tuberculosis unit’s operation into new context areas also led to scientific activities, which was demonstrated by an abundance of scholarly publications. International connections also played a major role in the launch of new activities. The transformation of operations was also strongly reflected in the training of specialists, specializing doctors, and medical students.

Chief Physician:
1931–-1957 Armas Brander
1957–-1959 Kalevi Lyytikäinen
1960–-1971 Rainer Hamarinen
1972–-1995 Antero Muittari
1995–-2001 Aarne Lahdensuo
2001-2003 Seppo Saarelainen
since 2004 Olli Polo

Chief nurses:
1931-1933 Ester Brander
1934-1941 Kyllikki Kaukovaara
1944–-1965 Toini Heikkilä
1965–-1982 Pirkko Valkama
1982–-1986 Lahja Snellman
1986–-1988 Marjatta Tolvanen
1989–-2000 Reetta Levänen-Krötzl
vuodesta 2000 Katriina Talonen