Published on 04. March 2020

Vivantes Pathology

Vivantes Pathology, the science of disease and disease research, deals with the causes of diseases or pathological conditions in the body. This makes pathology an important point of contact for physicians in almost all medical disciplines and an elementary component in the network for health.

About pathology

TV series have recently helped pathology gain great popularity. However, they convey a skewed picture: the largest field of work in pathology is not the forensic examination of deceased patients, but rather the examination of tissue samples from living patients (98 percent). In some cases, this is even done "intraoperatively," i.e., while the operation is in progress, for example, in the case of cancer patients.

The subject of pathology is one of the foundations of medicine; its object is the study and diagnosis of pathological changes. Rudolf Virchow, the founder of modern pathology, conceived the hospital in Friedrichshain and in particular its Institute of Pathology together with the master builder Martin Gropius at the end of the 1860s.

In the following years, Carl Friedländer and the Danish physician Hans Christian Gram worked at the institute, developing the "Gram stain" named after him here, which is still used today to distinguish between gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. David Paul von Hansemann and Ludwig Pick, one of the most famous pathologists of his time, were also active here. Since then, however, techniques have changed: Whereas the examination of deceased patients used to be at the center of pathological diagnostics, nowadays it is the analysis of small tissue samples and surgical specimens of living patients. With its work, also using modern immunohistological and molecular pathological methods, pathology provides the basis for the assessment of disease progression and the treatment of patients: it is the "pilot of therapy".

Pathology services at Vivantes

With the founding of Vivantes, the initially still seven independent institutes grow together and form their own network with eight locations as the Department of Pathology. Five of these locations are permanently staffed and accredited by the College of American Pathologists - an internationally recognized proof of highest quality.

Annually, the department examines 140,000 specimens from approximately 70,000 patients on 500,000 section specimens using the techniques of histology, cytology, immunohistology and molecular pathology. In addition, 5,500 frozen section examinations are performed during concurrent surgeries, as well as 4,000 molecular pathology examinations and 350 autopsies. These continue to be an important method of quality assurance. Since 2014, there has been a coordination office for tissue donation at the department, a joint project of Charité and Vivantes. Hereby, pathology also serves the living. Currently under construction is the "digital pathology", with the help of which samples can be co-examined in real time anywhere in the world in the future.

Organizational consolidation into a single department enables uniform and binding standards in pathology. The implementation of binding guidelines in pathology ensures uniform diagnostic quality for all Vivantes Hospitals.

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