Department of Diagnostics and Therapeutics
The Department of Diagnostics and Therapeutics of the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Medicine comprises the units of acute medicine, anaesthesiology and intensive care, clinical physiology and nuclear medicine, sports medicine, and radiology. The Department is responsible for basic education in medicine, specialist education, postgraduate and continuing education, postgraduate research education and the promotion of scientific research in the specialist fields of medicine it represents, as well as public engagement.
Education

The Department of Diagnostics and Therapeutics is responsible for providing basic education in the specialist fields of medicine it represents at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki. Most of the teaching provided by the Department takes place from the third to the sixth year of studies. More information on basic education is available in individual unit descriptions.

Advanced studies are part of basic education in medicine. At the Department of Diagnostics and Therapeutics, advanced studies can be completed by participating in research projects. For many, advanced studies have been the start of research efforts that result in a doctoral thesis.

The Department’s research topics and projects, including their contact persons, are described under the department’s disciplines. Participation in a research project may be possible even before completing basic education in the relevant discipline.

The Department trains specialists in acute medicine, anaesthesiology and intensive care, clinical physiology and nuclear medicine, sports medicine, and radiology. More information on specialist training is provided in connection with individual unit descriptions and on the Faculty website for professional postgraduate education. After completing specialist training, it is possible to complete a two-year specific training programme.

Units

The acute medicine unit is responsible for basic education in the diagnostics and care of acutely ill patients with injuries and acute illnesses at general emergency wards, as well as specialist training and scientific research in acute medicine. Advanced projects and clinical practice periods are available.

Basic education

Teaching in acute medicine is provided in the fifth and sixth years of studies in the Refresher Course in Emergency Medicine and the optional Principles of Acute Medicine course.

The goal of the teaching is to familiarise students with the processes of emergency medicine and the special characteristics of emergency diagnostics and care. The aim is for students to achieve the ability to work as emergency room clinicians under the supervision of a specialist.

Specialist training

The total duration of the training is six years for students admitted before 1 February 2020 and five years for students admitted after 1 February 2020. At least one year of the training must be completed outside the Helsinki University Hospital. The programme includes nine months of health centre training. In addition to practical training periods, the training includes theoretical course-based education and immediate supervisory training. The success of the training is monitored with a log, while skills are assessed by utilising international methods (Mini-CEX, simulations, etc.).

Research

In acute medicine, research groups and doctoral students are active in the following focus areas:

  1. Treatment process for acutely ill patients
  2. System and service structure research
  3. Identification of critically ill patients
  4. Management of acute pain
  5. Heart failure
  6. Cardiac arrests outside a hospital
  7. Demanding emergency care (techniques used by emergency physician units)
  8. Training in emergency care
  9. Poisoning
  10. Foetal effects of drugs

The anaesthesiology and intensive care unit is responsible for basic education in anaesthesiology, intensive care, emergency care and pain management as well as specialist training in anaesthesiology and intensive care, and research related to these fields. The unit actively conducts research, which is primarily clinical in nature, in all of the above specialisations.

As a rule, the advanced studies provided by the unit can be completed by taking part in ongoing research projects. Information on suitable research projects can be obtained from the unit’s four professors and one clinical instructor.

Basic education

Most of the instruction in anaesthesiology, intensive care, emergency care and pain management for medical students is provided in the third and fourth years of studies. Teaching in the discipline is implemented primarily as practical training in Skilla, the Faculty’s simulation centre. Theoretical instruction is supplemented by a weeklong practical training period in the anaesthesia departments (operating theatres) of the hospitals in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa. Teaching in pain management is implemented entirely as integrated teaching. Teaching in emergency care culminates in a resuscitation examination toward the end of the studies. A more detailed description is available on WebOodi. The discipline is also responsible for teaching in emergency first aid and emergency care for students of dentistry in their third and fifth years of studies.

Specialist training

Doctors specialising in anaesthesiology and intensive care complete predetermined training periods at the units of the Helsinki University Hospital and, partially, outside the hospital. While most specialising doctors complete the specialist training in accordance with the schedule-based training plan, a transition to skills-based training is currently underway. The duration of the training period in a university hospital included in specialist training is usually 2.5 to 3.5 years. Theoretical training is provided in monthly four-hour training seminars and weekly training sessions organised by different training units. 

Specific training programmes in anaesthesiology and intensive care

Specialists in anaesthesiology and intensive care can complete further training in the following specific training programmes organised by the University of Helsinki:

  • Emergency medicine
  • Paediatric anaesthesiology and intensive care medicine
  • Neuroanaesthesiology and intensive care
  • Obstetric anaesthesiology
  • Cardiac anaesthesia
  • Intensive care medicine
  • Transfusion medicine

Further information (in Finnish only).

Research in anaesthesiology, intensive care, emergency care and pain management

Research is conducted in all areas of the specialisation, including anaesthesiology, intensive care, emergency care and pain management. Worthy of mention are Professor Eija Kalso’s group, which specialises in the study of pain, and Professor Ville Pettilä’s intensive care research group. Professor Markus Skrifvars heads a research group focused on emergency medicine. The numerous perioperative research projects carried out in the field have investigated, for example, perioperative pain management and intraoperative hydration.

The clinical physiology and nuclear medicine division under the Helsinki University Hospital’s Diagnostic Center is responsible for providing basic education in clinical physiology and nuclear medicine to medical students, specialist training in clinical physiology and nuclear medicine and, in the field of nuclear medicine, professional specialisation education for medical physicists. In addition, the division of clinical physiology and nuclear medicine coordinates research in the field conducted at the University of Helsinki.

Clinical physiology and nuclear medicine is a diagnostic specialisation that investigates, through physiological methods, functional disturbances and diseases of, for example, the lungs and the cardiovascular system, as well as patients’ operability and fitness for work. Nuclear medicine techniques make it possible to scan, among other things, metabolic activity, blood flow and ventilation. Research is conducted particularly on the diagnostics of cancer, cardiac diseases, memory disorders and pulmonary diseases. Today, the results of CT and MRI imaging (hybrid imaging) are also often utilised in research.

Unit descriptions

The division of clinical physiology and nuclear medicine in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa comprises several units. The Meilahti Hospital radioisotope unit has extensive SPET and PET imaging modalities at its disposal. The Meilahti Hospital clinical physiology unit houses versatile equipment and expertise for investigating cardiopulmonary function. The clinical physiology unit at the Jorvi Hospital coordinates activities in both clinical physiology and nuclear medicine, providing a diverse overview of activities in the field. The clinical physiology unit at the Hyvinkää Hospital has a particular representation in ultrasound imaging. The clinical physiology unit at the Peijas Hospital specialises in the study of functional disturbances of the oesophagus and syncope, in addition to more common examinations associated with clinical physiology.

Basic education

At the preclinical stage, teaching in clinical physiology and nuclear medicine is provided briefly in basic examinations pertaining to the heart and the lungs. At the clinical stage, teaching in clinical physiology is integrated into the Chest Pain, Dyspnoea and Vascular Surgery course, where it encompasses four hours of seminar instruction and two hours of group instruction as well as six hours of clinical instruction. This instruction covers the performance of a stress test and stress physiology, the mechanisms of dyspnoea and reading spirometric measurements, in addition to which students familiarise themselves with a handful of studies in clinical physiology and their practical indications. In nuclear medicine, the most common isotope analyses and their indications for referral are explored, focusing particularly on the diagnostics of coronary artery disease.

Specialist training

The division of clinical physiology and nuclear medicine at the Helsinki University Hospital Diagnostic Center has 10 training positions for specialising doctors. The total duration of the training is six years. The training is implemented in cooperation with the clinical physiology and/or clinical physiology and nuclear medicine units of the Meilahti, Jorvi, Peijas and Hyvinkää Hospitals, as well as in brief periods organised at other units of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.

Specific training programmes in clinical physiology and nuclear medicine

  • Molecular and fusion imaging
  • Special qualification in cardiac imaging

Research

Research in clinical physiology focuses particularly on lung diseases, electrical cardiac functional disturbances and changes of brain function. Many research projects are related to international or intra-HUS collaboration. Worthy of mention are the EpiLung study conducted by Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian researchers, as well as cooperation with the cardiology, pulmonary disease, neurology and radiology clinics, and the Skin and Allergy Hospital. Research collaboration is conducted also with Aalto University as well as the radiochemistry and physics units. In nuclear medicine, research collaboration is conducted particularly with the cardiology clinic in the area of coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathic imaging, as well as with the cancer and abdominal centres in renal and cancer imaging.

Also available are topics for students’ advanced assignments. Clinical training periods can also be completed in the division of clinical physiology and nuclear medicine.

The sports medicine unit is responsible for teaching in sports medicine and conducts research pertaining to sports physiology and sports medicine. The unit operates in facilities provided by the Finnish Sports Medicine Foundation in building I (Pihala) in the courtyard of the Helsinki Deaconess Foundation until the end of June 2021, after which the operations will relocate to the soon-to-be-completed Urhea centre at Mäkelänrinne as of 1 August 2021.

Basic education

Basic education in medicine does not include a separate course in sports medicine. Instead, teaching in the field is, for now, integrated into the teaching provided in other clinical specialisations. Advanced studies related to other research conducted at the unit can also be completed at the unit. In addition, the unit aims to offer optional courses every year.

Specialist training

Specialist training is implemented in accordance with the course catalogue for specialist training. 

Research

Research at the sports medicine unit focuses on central areas of sports medicine and sports physiology that pertain to the most common diseases among the population (cardiovascular diseases, obstructive pulmonary diseases, diabetes), injuries to and diseases of the musculoskeletal system, physical activity and its effects, fatigue, recovery and excessive stress as well as the effects of hypoxia in sports physiology, the factors associated with performance level, and stress responses. 

The research areas are supported by the active development of dedicated research methods. Research is conducted by utilising the staff and equipment of both the unit and the Sports Medicine Foundation, as well as collaboratively with different departments and research centres of the University of Helsinki.

The sports medicine unit has a wide domestic and international collaboration network.

The unit’s research groups have doctoral students specialising in, for example, sports medicine (MD), sports physiology (PhD) and nutrition science.

The radiology unit is responsible for providing basic education in the diagnostic use of radiological imaging techniques and related radiation protection, specialist training and continuing education in radiology as well as scientific research in radiology. Advanced projects and clinical practice periods are available.

Basic education

Teaching in radiology is provided in the third and fourth years of studies in chest radiology, neuroradiology, abdominal radiology and orthopaedic radiology, and is integrated into study blocks in clinical instruction, with English-language instruction provided for an international group of students in the chest and abdominal blocks. In the fifth year of studies, the focus is on paediatric radiology, while the sixth year of studies includes radiology seminars where key topics are reviewed. 

The goal of teaching is to familiarise students with the use of radiological imaging techniques and disease diagnostics, indications for imaging, contraindications and the obligation of the referring doctor to ensure the radiation protection of the patient. Another goal is to provide students with the skills to independently interpret the chest, plain abdominal and skeletal radiographs of trauma commonly used in primary healthcare. The training provides the opportunity to try out ultrasound imaging in practice.

In the seminars held in the sixth year of studies, students familiarise themselves with the work of radiologists through patient cases and review the interpretation of skeletal and chest images. Optional courses are available in ultrasound and emergency radiology. In the skills workshop, students can practise reading fracture and chest images and familiarise themselves with ultrasound imaging under the supervision of a clinical instructor.

Specialist training

The total duration of the training depends on the date of receiving the right to complete it. Part of the training must be completed outside the Helsinki University Hospital. Detailed information about completing specialist training in radiology is available on the Faculty website. In addition to practical training periods, the training includes theoretical course-based education and immediate supervisory training.

Specific training programmes in radiology

After completing the specialist training in radiology, you can complete a two-year specific training programme in the following fields:

  • Abdominal radiology
  • Emergency radiology
  • Paediatric radiology
  • Molecular and fusion imaging
  • Neuroradiology
  • Breast radiology
  • Thoracic radiology
  • Interventional radiology
  • Musculoskeletal radiology

Research

Research groups and doctoral students working at the radiology unit are active in the fields of, for example, neuroradiology, cardiac imaging, orthopaedic radiology, paediatric radiology and metabolic imaging. Further information on research projects can be obtained from the professors of radiology and Research Coordinator Mia Perä.

Contact details

Chef

professor Taina Autti
taina.autti@hus.fi