1970-2000 The largest separate unit

Home oxygen treatment and medical breathing equipment

The frequent occurrence of smoking-induced COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) was globally detected in the 1970s-1980s. COPD is a dangerous chronic lung disease which is most prevalent among smokers. It is often advanced at the time of diagnosis.

At the beginning of the 1980s the Pikonlinna lung clinic began COPD-related research under the leadership of chief physician dr. Aarne Lahdensuo. Measures were taken to develop the early detection of the disease and health education programs were carried out to inform of the prevalence and consequences of the disease. The campaign also included  rehabilitation programs for COPD patients. In addition to these measures, Finland was among the first countries to launch home oxygen therapy for patients suffering from severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Advancements in technology led to the development of oxygen concentrator, which is a device that can separate oxygen from room air and deliver it to the patient to through a nose hose in home environment. This therapy helped reduce the mortality rate among COPD patients and it promoted outpatient and home care. Together with thorax surgeons, Pikonlinna’s lung clinic was among the first centres in the country to use thoracoplasty in the treatment of COPD patients.

The advances made in the 1980s in medical technology made it possible to develop new non-invasive respiratory therapy devices. Thanks to these devices, acute respiratory failure could also be treated in ordinary wards instead of solely in intensive care units, as was nearly always the case earlier. There was a definite need for this kind of treatment in the Pikonlinna lung clinic, because the increased number of CPOD patients led to a commensurate increase in respiratory failures.

Pikonlinna was among the very first hospitals in Finland to utilize the aforementioned therapy. Non-invasive breathing machines broadened the treatment options for patients suffering from respiratory paralysis due to different causes. The Pikonlinna lung clinic treated aforementioned cases from the 1980s onwards and it was also involved with the implementation of a large treatment project for respiratory paralysis patients together with its co-operative partners within the framework of the Tampere University Hospital.