The development of nuclear medicine in Slovenia and Ljubljana; half a century of nuclear medicine in Slovenia
Background. Nuclear medicine began to be developed in the USA after 1938 when radionuclides were introduced into medicine and in Europe after radionuclides began to be produced at the Harwell reactor (England, 1947). Slovenia began its first investigations in the 1950s. This article describes the development of nuclear medicine in Slovenia and Ljubljana. The first nuclear medicine interventions were performed in Slovenia at the Internal Clinic in Ljubljana in the period 1954-1959. In 1954, Dr Jože Satler started using radioactive iodine for thyroid investigations. In the same year, Dr Bojan Varl, who is considered the pioneer of nuclear medicine in Slovenia, began systematically introducing nuclear medicine. The first radioisotope laboratories were established in January 1960 at the Institute of Oncology and at the Internal Clinic. Under the direction of Dr. Varl, the laboratory at the Internal Clinic developed gradually and in 1973 became the Clinic for Nuclear Medicine with departments for in vivo and in vitro diagnostics and for the treatment of inpatients and outpatients at the thyroid department. The Clinic for Nuclear Medicine became a teaching unit of the Medical Faculty and developed its own post-graduate programme - the first student enrolled in 1972. In the 1960s, radioisotope laboratories opened in the general hospitals of Slovenj Gradec and Celje, and in the 1970s also in Maribor, Izola and Šempeter pri Novi Gorici.
Conclusions. Nowadays, nuclear medicine units are modernly equipped and the staff is trained in morphological, functional and laboratory diagnostics in clinical medicine. They also work on the treatment of cancer, increased thyroid function and other diseases.