What are your research topics?
My research group conducts systematic reviews and meta-analyses as well as randomised trials, determines patients’ expectations, values and choices, as well as investigates variation in treatment practices.
Our research pertains primarily to the field of urology, but also more generally to surgery and medicine. We focus particularly on the reduction of surgical complications, such as blood clots, bleeding and infections, the treatment of urinary symptoms, and decision-making related to patient care. In the past year, we have also contributed to the large international Solidarity trial (link in Finnish only), which studies drug therapies for the coronavirus disease.
What is common to all these branches? The use of advanced methods of clinical epidemiology and evidence-based medicine to improve the treatment of urological and other patients. In terms of methodology, we strive to carry out as high-quality clinical research as possible.
Where and how does the topic of your research have an impact?
An example is the clinical guidelines for the prevention of blood clots in urology patients we drew up on the basis of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The European Association of Urology uses the guidelines, rationalising the care of surgical patients in dozens of countries. The European Society of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care is also updating its care guidelines according to our example and results. We are currently making similar efforts in gastrointestinal and gynaecological surgery.
What is particularly inspiring in your field right now?
It is great to see that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased understanding of simple, large-scale multinational randomised trials. In other words, there is an upside to an otherwise negative thing. We were carrying out this kind of work already before the pandemic, and in the future we will only increase our efforts in the field of urology and surgery.
Kari Tikkinen is a professor of urology at the Faculty of Medicine.