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The knowledge of hospital diagnostic units is based on years of tradition and experience described in the historical part of the book. Despite their independence, the units are all closely connected in the integrated treatment of patients. Their professionals cooperate with clinicians and use this interdisciplinary approach to diagnose the patient’s condition, which is made easier with the functional arrangement of workspace. The work of individual diagnostic units is specific, but they all cooperate with clinical wards and also perform diagnostic procedures in outpatient clinics and other patients.

  • Respiratory Endoscopy Unit deals with pathological processes in the lungs and pleura,
  • Abdominal Endoscopy Unit diagnoses gastrointestinal pathologies,
  • Radiology Unit deals with thoracic and, to a lesser extent, abdominal pathologies,
  • Laboratory for Pulmonary Function Tests deals with the pathophysiology of breathing,
  • Laboratory for Cardiovascular Function Tests helps to diagnose cardiovascular diseases, and
  • Laboratory for Sleep Related Breathing Disorders identifies breathing disorders in sleep.

Like all staff at the hospital, diagnostic unit staff regularly attend a variety of seminars and courses within and outside the hospital. They provide health education to patients, publish both scientific and popular science articles, train their co-workers and students and are actively involved in research, which is described in a separate chapter.

Procedures and tests are carried out according to set protocols and standards, and patients are always well informed about the purpose and the course of the procedure. In invasive procedures with possible complications, the patients are required to sign an informed consent form.


Respiratory Endoscopy Unit
In this top-level unit for diagnostics and treatment, 6 doctors and 5 nurses perform approximately 2,000 procedures per year. Most of these are bronchoscopies (1,400–1,500) but also needle biopsies of the lung, closed pleural biopsies and medical thoracoscopies. Their scientific findings and professional experience have helped to prepare the guidelines and theoretical starting points for respiratory endoscopy in Slovenia. The well-coordinated team keeps up to date with innovations in the field by regularly visiting and training in top-level European medical centres, especially in similar units of respiratory endoscopy, such as Heidelberg and Hemer in Germany, Lille in France, Ancona in Italy and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The unit is also a teaching centre for specialists and their assistants from Slovenia and some Eastern European countries. The unit’s doctors give lectures at different workshops in Western and Eastern Europe and in the Balkans. Their research work is mainly directed towards early diagnostics of lung cancer with autofluorescence bronchoscopy and endobronchial ultrasound. They have developed an excellent way to prepare patients for bronchoscopy. One of their achievements is an innovative method of reassuring patients during a bronchoscopic examination by playing music. Another big challenge for the staff is scientific work in basic research projects.

Nadja Triller, MD, internal medicine specialist, is the head of this unit. She graduated in 1982 and has been employed at the hospital since 1992 when she also completed residency. She underwent additional professional training in Amsterdam, Lille, Heidelberg and Hemmer. As a bronchoscopy specialist, she is also actively involved in educational and research work.

Abdominal Endoscopy Unit
This unit is a well-equipped diagnostic and therapeutic unit and an important part of the University Clinic Golnik, as the hospital admits both patients with lung diseases and those with abdominal disorders. The unit’s team performs approximately 1,400 gastroscopies, 270 colonoscopies and 20 rectoscopies yearly. About half of all patients examined are hospitalised; the other half are outpatients. The former are usually the elderly and the latter are usually young patients.

Boris Škofic, MD, internal medicine specialist, has been in charge of the unit since 1993 and has many years of experience at the hospital. At the beginning of his career he worked in Ward 500 for internal diseases. During his time in the internal medicine and diabetes outpatient units in Kranj, he also performed endoscopic procedures in the Abdominal Endoscopy Unit. For the last 10 years he has been employed in the Abdominal Endoscopy Unit and in the Radiology Unit where he performs abdominal ultrasound.

Radiology Unit

This unit is an independent diagnostic unit that contributes significantly to the accurate diagnosis of a patient. There are 13 employees working with top-level equipment for X-ray imaging, ultrasound examinations and different diagnostic procedures of the respiratory and digestive systems. They also perform CT- or ultrasound-guided percutaneous biopsies of the lung or the mediastinum and assist in fluoroscopy-guided biopsies of the lung. Radiology Unit doctors cooperate with bronchoscopists, surgeons and internists in multidisciplinary teams. Since the introduction of a CT scanner in 2002, the team has developed a more precise evaluation of the staging of lung tumours and has started to diagnose different rare interstitial lung diseases, pulmonary thromboembolisms, etc.

Rok Cesar, MD, radiology specialist, has been in charge of the unit since 2002 when he joined the hospital. He graduated in 1982 and finished residency in 1993. He underwent additional professional training in Lille, France, and London. He introduced computed tomography and the PACS information system.

Laboratory for Pulmonary Function Tests

This well-equipped laboratory, which has been a part of the hospital for half a century, was established to test the functioning of the respiratory system. The head of the unit and 6 laboratory employees take different physiological measurements of respiratory mechanics and gas exchange. The most important tests are: spirometry, measurement of pulmonary diffusion capacity, bronchial provocation tests, challenge tests, whole body plethysmography, analysis of gases in arterial blood, etc. The most advanced test performed is measurement of nitrogen monoxide (NO) in exhaled air. All these tests are performed in children and adults, mostly in patients with chronic lung diseases and sportsmen. The staff train other medical staff to perform spirometry and methacholine challenge tests. They are involved in research work within the hospital as well as with external partners. They have recently introduced telemetric control of respiratory function in patients with chronic lung diseases as a continuation of their innovative work.

Assist Prof Matjaž Fležar, MD, PhD, internal medicine specialist, has been the head of this laboratory since 1992 and has great professional skills which he acquired during professional training abroad; the Meakins-Christie Laboratories of the McGill University in Montreal, the Montreal Chest Hospital and the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, between 1989 and 1991. He is also the head of clinical research and the Deputy Technical Director.

Laboratory for Cardiovascular Function Tests
This laboratory performs invasive and non-invasive procedures at secondary level. They mostly perform exercise treadmill tests by following an ECG and by measuring oxygen consumption and other indicators of cardiorespiratory function, cardiac and vascular ultrasound examinations and 24-hour blood pressure measurements. In cooperation with the Intensive Care Unit, they also carry out 24-hour monitoring of heart rhythm (Holter monitoring) and invasive ultrasound-guided procedures. The equipment is up-to-date and complies with the criteria for safe and high quality testing.

Robert Marčun, MD, internal medicine specialist, has been the head of this laboratory since 1995. He graduated in 1989 when he also joined the hospital. He finished residency in 1995. His area of work includes non-invasive cardiac diagnostic testing, ultrasound of the chest, exercise stress tests and other cardiac examinations.

Laboratory for Sleep Related Breathing Disorders
The foundation of this laboratory in 1996 was dictated by the increasing knowledge of sleep related breathing disorders, their consequences and their increased incidence. Doctors working in the Intensive Care Unit had encountered these disorders in the past, but Assist Prof Matjaž Fležar, MD, PhD, was the first to undergo special training in Montreal, Canada. He also equipped the first laboratory. In 2005 the equipment was updated in accordance with international standards, which now enables complete polysomnographic monitoring of patients.

Jasmina Gabrijelčič, MD, internal medicine specialist, has been in charge of this laboratory since 2006. She graduated in 1994 and has been employed at the hospital since 1996. She finished residency in 2002.

Physiotherapy and Respiratory Rehabilitation Unit
In a hospital which specialises in treating pulmonary diseases, respiratory physiotherapy and rehabilitation are an integral part of the treatment. The unit has a fifty-year tradition. It employs a staff of eight people, the majority being physiotherapists. The unit has six beds for the most severely affected patients who need from 4 to 6 weeks physiotherapy and rehabilitation in order to be able to independently control their disease at home. In patients with permanent lung damage, physiotherapy is far more important than pharmacological treatment. The staff work together with a social worker, dietician, psychologist, home health care nurses and different specialists. They have also begun to treat patients in an outpatient clinic.

Jurij Šorli, Jr., MD, internal medicine specialist, has been in charge of the unit since 2004. He graduated in 1997 and has been employed at the hospital since then, completing residency in 2002. He has implemented the latest rehabilitation methods, which he studied in Maastricht, the Netherlands.