East Tallinn Central Hospital department of urology is going strong

23. May 2016

The department of urology at East Tallinn Central Hospital has a strong position in Estonia as well as great traditions and a supportive team. Common goals and the resulting activities have carried the department of urology to the present day – 61 years of solid tradition have given rise to consistent knowledge and development by the best specialists in the field.

Being one of the oldest departments in Estonia, the department of urology started operating autonomously at Tallinn I Hospital on 4 January 1950. Our hospital has provided the best possible medical care to patients for 61 years.

Indeed, the department of urology at East Tallinn Central Hospital has an impressive background. Head of the department Dr Martin Kivi has only good words for his predecessor Dr Toomas Tamm – what has been done in the previous decades has, over time, paved the way for a supportive team that works together, is engaged in consistent training and has provided the department of urology at East Tallinn Central Hospital a respectable position in the field of urology in Estonia.

To this day, Dr Toomas Tamm as president of the Estonian Urological Society has ongoing ties with East Tallinn Central Hospital, which is beneficial for the department’s everyday work – it best helps to ensure long-standing experience, liability and innovation as well as sectoral exchange of information.

Core values and commitment

"Commitment to the patients, professionalism and teamwork make up the core values of our department," explains Dr Kivi. He adds that it is the personalised approach and optimal treatment solutions that, based on good medical practices, long-standing experience and international treatment guidelines, help to ensure the right care for patients.

Today, there are seven urologists and over 30 nurses and caretakers who tend to patients in the department of urology at East Tallinn Central Hospital. The department has 17 beds including five beds in the level II intensive care unit. The clinic sees more than 18,000 visits per year, and over 1,300 patients are treated in the department.

"On average, we perform over 1,000 different urological procedures per year. Most of these interventions are minimally invasive endoscopic and laparoscopic surgeries. I can say that we treat all types of uro-oncological pathologies and perform conventional and laparoscopic surgeries to treat prostate and kidney cancer," states the head of the department of urology. He adds that the optimal organisation of work, the training of personnel and teamwork all help to ensure that surgeries are performed with minimum waiting times at East Tallinn Central Hospital.

Always up to date and innovative

The department of urology at East Tallinn Central Hospital has always offered the best medical solutions to its patients. In 2015, a new block of operating rooms with modern equipment was opened in the surgery clinic, enabling the use of the latest technology in all the necessary endoscopic, laparoscopic and open surgeries.

The high intensity of treatment means high quality and maximum speed in providing specific urologic care at East Tallinn Central Hospital. There are short waiting times for ambulatory and stationary care and urological aid is easily accessible.

"The best example of this is the approach to patients with kidney stones. There are many possibilities for urgent removal of kidney stones on the same day of admission as well as every day using various non-invasive methods – extracorporeal lithotripsy and different endoscopic treatment methods, including flexible ureterorenoscopy, laser lithotripsy and percutaneous nephroscopy, which allow for a faster recovery and a return to everyday life. This demonstrates the high quality of training of the entire team, the coherence of the personnel and the range of treatment options," notes Dr Kivi. He adds that around 25 to 30 percent of all kidney stone surgeries and procedures in Estonia are performed in the urology department of East Tallinn Central Hospital.

Bladder cancer is diagnosed and treated using a modern method of photodynamic tumour diagnosis as well as transurethral resection of the bladder. Open surgeries and radical cystectomy with different methods of urine derivation are used for radical treatment of invasive bladder cancer.

In the field of uro-oncology, the cases of patients who have been diagnosed with first-time malignant tumours, difficult cases and the cases of patients who need multimodal treatment are discussed by an oncological consilium with the participation of urologists as well as providers of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, radiologists and pathologists. We are pleased to note that the department is engaged in a close, long-term and successful cooperation with the Centre of Oncology at East Tallinn Central Hospital and the Department of Radiation Therapy at North Estonia Medical Centre Hospital.

Dr Kivi mentions that the department also has extensive experience with treating post-surgery urinary incontinence in men. Urinary incontinence in men is treated with fixated slings that require minimal invasion and guarantee successful and long-term results.  Surgical treatment is, of course, also available for women suffering from urinary incontinence.

A look to the future

Further contributing to the work of our solid team is an environment with modern equipment.  A large-scale renovation and alteration of the department has been planned – new, modern rooms will provide the patients with better conditions during their hospital stay and the personnel will be able to enjoy a new and even more up-to-date working environment. This autumn, the department of urology will be complemented with new equipment that will offer additional opportunities to diagnose oncological pathologies.

The urologists at East Tallinn Central Hospital have always prioritised professional development and training. In cooperation with the University of Tartu, the department of urology has served as a training centre for many students and residents of the university's faculty of medicine. This autumn, a unique and practical refresher course will be organised for all the doctors of invasive radiology in the department to improve the diagnostic opportunities and skills of urologists and potentially increase their professional range. This will be done in cooperation with the radiologists at East Tallinn Central Hospital and under the guidance of Dr Ross.

According to Dr Kivi, the e-consultation solution which was launched in the beginning of April has further improved and simplified cooperation with GPs – it has enabled faster consultations with GPs regarding the treatment of the patients and referrals to treatments.

Since May, the volume of ambulatory care has also been increased. This, too, will improve the availability of ambulatory urological aid and shorten the waiting times for patients.

"The department of urology at East Tallinn Central Hospital features an excellent staff working closely together, outstanding colleagues with extensive professional experience, continuous refresher courses and modern equipment, and we hope that the renovation in the near future will further improve conditions for patients and personnel. We have excellent cooperation with other fields and healthcare institutions, we have earned the trust of our patients – and we will continue to be trustworthy,” Dr Kivi said, summarising the strengths of the department of urology.