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Cytology and Pathology Laboratory

The Laboratory began to operate in Golnik under modest conditions in the 1950s. Today, it is the leading pulmonary cytology and pathology laboratory in Slovenia. For the benefit of the patient, we strive to connect clinical and laboratory medicine more closely. Samples from other institutions are also admitted to the Laboratory. We conduct consultations for domestic and foreign colleagues and second opinions for citizens of the Republic of Slovenia and foreigners. In addition to routine sample processing methods, various additional methods are performed: cyto-/histochemical staining, immunocyto-/histochemistry and molecular pathology techniques (FISH, PCR, NGS). The results are issued within one to two days after receiving the sample. The Laboratory is supported by the Laboratory Information System, which is connected to the Hospital and Central Patient Register and is licensed by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia.

The Cytology Laboratory receives over 4,000 cytology referrals or 6,000 different samples each year. Mostly these are samples of respiratory cytopathology: bronchoscopic biopsy swabs, brushes, transbronchial needle aspiration, thin needle aspiration biopsies of type changes and guided (CT, RTG, UZ), bronchoalveolar lavage, induced sputum, nasal lavage and pleural lavage. Routine samples are stained using the May-Grünwald-Giems and Papanicolaou methods. Telecitology assesses the suitability of cell specimens as soon as they are taken and thus contributes to the improved outcome of diagnostic procedures. All samples treated are examined in two stages (cytoscreen and pathologist).

At the Pathology Laboratory, more than 3,000 referrals for tissue samples or just under 4,000 samples are accepted annually. Various endoscopic biopsies (bronchi, lungs, pleura) predominate. Samples include biopsies of other organs (skin, gastrointestinal tract, lymph nodes). We also examine surgically taken smaller and larger samples of the breast and other organs. Sample processing is partially automated. Routine treatment of tissue samples involves controlled fixation in formalin, paraffin production and a series of haematoxylin-eosin stained slices. We conduct emergency intraoperative examinations with icy incisions to evaluate surgical resection margins and diagnose undefined changes.

At the Laboratory for Molecular Pathology, approximately 1,000 samples are received for various molecular pathological examinations. We use in situ hybridisation (SISH, FISH), polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and next generation sequencing (NGS) methods. We determine predictive and prognostic markers in cell and tissue samples of patients with lung cancer (mutations of the EGFR, KRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA genes; MET, ALK, NTRK and ROS1 gene changes). With the mentioned methods, we also prove the presence of microorganisms in cellular and tissue samples.

Up to 50 autopsies are performed annually in the Department of Pathology, which represents a 10% rate of autopsying the deceased in our hospital. Most of the autopsy cases are presented at clinicopathological meetings.

We cooperate with other laboratories in the country (Institute of Pathology of the Faculty of Medicine and Department of Pathology and Cytopathology of the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana). The Laboratory is a training base for students of the Faculty of Medicine in Maribor, pathology residents and other students.