Irma Koivula

University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Province of Eastern Finland, Finland

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Publications (23)60.08 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus (S. zooepidemicus) is a zoonotic pathogen for persons in contact with horses. In horses, S. zooepidemicus is an opportunistic pathogen, but human infections associated with S. zooepidemicus are often severe. Within 6 months in 2011, 3 unrelated cases of severe, disseminated S. zooepidemicus infection occurred in men working with horses in eastern Finland. To clarify the pathogen's epidemiology, we describe the clinical features of the infection in 3 patients and compare the S. zooepidemicus isolates from the human cases with S. zooepidemicus isolates from horses. The isolates were analyzed by using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, multilocus sequence typing, and sequencing of the szP gene. Molecular typing methods showed that human and equine isolates were identical or closely related. These results emphasize that S. zooepidemicus transmitted from horses can lead to severe infections in humans. As leisure and professional equine sports continue to grow, this infection should be recognized as an emerging zoonosis.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 07/2013; 19(7):1041-8. · 6.79 Impact Factor
  • Leukemia & lymphoma 06/2013; · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Early diagnosis of complicated course in febrile neutropenia is cumbersome due to the non-specificity of clinical and laboratory signs of severe infection. This prospective study included 100 adult hematological patients with febrile neutropenia after intensive chemotherapy at the onset of fever (d0) and for 3days (d1-d3) thereafter. The study aim was to find early predictors for complicated course of febrile neutropenia, defined as bacteremia or septic shock. Interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 10 (IL-10), procalcitonin (PCT) and C-reactive protein (CRP) all predicted complicated course of febrile neutropenia on d0, but only PCT was predictive throughout the study period. For IL-10 on d0-1 with cut-off 37ng/L, sensitivity was 0.71, specificity 0.82, positive predictive value 0.52 and negative predictive value 0.92. For PCT on d0-1 with cut-off 0.13μg/L, the respective measures were 0.95, 0.53, 0.36, and 0.98. For the combination of IL-10 and PCT on d0-1 with the same cut-offs, specificity improved to 0.85 and positive predictive value to 0.56. In conclusion, the present study confirms the high negative predictive value of PCT and provides new evidence for IL-10 as an early predictor for complicated course of febrile neutropenia in hematological patients. Combining IL-10 with PCT improves the early prediction for complicated course of febrile neutropenia.
    Cytokine 08/2012; · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Copeptin, the surrogate marker of arginine vasopressin (AVP), has been suggested to be a useful biomarker in monitoring sepsis reflecting hemodynamic imbalance and stress state. This prospective study conducted at a hematology ward in a Finnish University Hospital aimed to investigate whether plasma copeptin predicts the development of complicated course of neutropenic fever (bacteremia or need for treatment at intensive care unit) in 100 hematological patients experiencing their first neutropenic fever episode after intensive chemotherapy for hematological malignancy. Contrary to study presumptions, not elevated copeptin but the lack of a proper initial increase of plasma copeptin (<0.02 ng/mL from day 0 to day 1) predicted blood culture positive sepsis (p=0.023) and gram-negative bacteremia (p=0.045). No correlation was observed with plasma sodium, blood pressure or evaluated osmolality. Plasma copeptin correlated inversely with the same day pentraxin 3 on day 0-day 2 (all p-values <0.001) and with C-reactive protein on day 1 (p=0.015). In conclusion, copeptin did not correlate with disease severity, but the lack of a proper initial increase was associated with bacteremic complications of febrile neutropenia in hematological patients. The findings suggest the possibility of central dysregulation of AVP release and do not support the use of copeptin as a biomarker of septic complications in this patient group.
    Peptides 05/2012; 36(1):129-32. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mycoplasma pneumoniae causes up to 10-40 % of community-acquired pneumonias. The incidence of M. pneumoniae pneumonia is greatest among children and young adults. The symptoms of M. pneumoniae upper and lower respiratory infections are usually mild and often self-limited. The most frequent extrapulmonary complications present in CNS, heart and skin. The skin affiliations are usually transient erythematous maculopapular or vesicular rashes but may sometimes evolve into Stevens-Johnson syndrome. M. pneumoniae is one of the most common microbe behind the infectious causes of SJS. We present a patient who developed incomplete Stevens-Johnson syndrome concomitant of Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia.
    Duodecim; lääketieteellinen aikakauskirja 01/2012; 128(21):2272-6.
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    ABSTRACT: We evaluated pentraxin 3 as a marker for complications of neutropenic fever in 100 hematologic patients receiving intensive chemotherapy. Pentraxin 3 and C-reactive protein were measured at fever onset and then daily to day 3. Bacteremia was observed in 19 patients and septic shock in 5 patients (three deaths). In comparison to C-reactive protein, pentraxin 3 achieved its maximum more rapidly. Pentraxin 3 correlated not only with the same day C-reactive protein but also with the next day C-reactive protein. High pentraxin 3 on day 0 was associated with the development of septic shock (P=0.009) and bacteremia (P=0.046). The non-survivors had constantly high pentraxin 3 levels. To conclude, pentraxin 3 is an early predictor of complications in hematologic patients with neutropenic fever. High level of pentraxin 3 predicts septic shock and bacteremia already at the onset of febrile neutropenia. ( Identifier: NCT00781040.).
    Haematologica 09/2011; 96(9):1385-9. · 5.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We compared biomarkers and their changes as predictors for bacteremia and severe sepsis during neutropenic fever after intensive chemotherapy in hematological patients. Serum C-reactive protein (CRP), semi-quantative procalcitonin, aminoterminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), cortisol, lactate, plasma antithrombin and fibrinogen were measured daily from day 0 to day 3/day 4 in 89 neutropenic fever episodes of 65 hematological patients. The best predictors for bacteremia and gram-negative bacteremia were procalcitonin and its change, with odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals of 2.63 (1.56-4.44) and 3.20 (1.77-5.80) for bacteremia and 4.14 (2.00-8.58) and 5.04 (2.18-11.63) for gram-negative bacteremia, respectively. For severe sepsis, the best predictors were CRP and fibrinogen, with ORs of 1.94 (1.07-3.52) and 1.92 (1.05-3.54). Factor analysis provided two predictive factors: procalcitonin-NT-proBNP-antithrombin factor predicted gram-negative bacteremia and CRP-fibrinogen predicted severe sepsis. Applying a combination of markers reflecting different aspects of infection might improve the recognition of risk for complications in patients with neutropenic fever.
    Leukemia & lymphoma 07/2011; 52(12):2349-55. · 2.61 Impact Factor
  • Irma Koivula, Auni Juutilainen
    Leukemia research 07/2011; 35(10):1288-9. · 2.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed at assessing the cut-off levels for pentraxin 3 (PTX3) in predicting complications of neutropenic fever (bacteraemia, septic shock) in haematological patients. A prospective study during 2006-2009 was performed at haematology ward in Kuopio University Hospital. A patient was eligible for the study if having neutropenic fever after intensive therapy for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) (n = 32) or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (n = 35). Blood cultures were taken, and maximal PTX3 and C-reactive protein (CRP) were evaluated during d0 to d3 from the beginning of fever onset. The level of PTX3 was associated with both the underlying malignancy and the presence of complications, with highest level in NHL patients with complicated course of febrile neutropenia and lowest in AML patients with non-complicated course. The cut-off level of PTX3 to predict complications was ten-fold in patients with NHL (115 μg/L) in comparison with patients with AML (11.5 μg/L). In combined analysis based on separate cut-offs, PTX3 predicted complications of febrile neutropenia with sensitivity of 0.86, specificity of 0.83, positive predictive value of 0.57 and negative predictive value of 0.96.   PTX3 was superior to CRP in predicting complicated course of febrile neutropenia, but only when the effect of the underlying malignancy had been taken into account.
    European Journal Of Haematology 06/2011; 87(5):441-7. · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There are no data on serum cortisol of hematological patients at the onset of neutropenic fever and its possible association with the severity of infection. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association of serum cortisol with the level of C-reactive protein (CRP) and procalcitonin (PCT), widely used markers of infection and inflammation, and with the development of severe sepsis in this patient group. All clinical data were collected prospectively at the hematology ward of Kuopio University Hospital. Altogether, 69 hematological patients with 93 periods of neutropenic fever were included. Nineteen patients received therapy for acute myeloid leukemia, and 50 patients were autologous stem cell transplantation recipients. Each period of neutropenic fever was classified as severe sepsis or not. Serum cortisol, CRP, and PCT were determined at the onset of fever on day 0 and then at 8-9 a.m. on days 1-4. Level of serum cortisol correlated positively with maximal CRP level during days 0 to 4 in neutropenic fever periods without severe sepsis, but no correlation was observed in fever periods with severe sepsis. To conclude, the level of cortisol correlated with the severity of infection measured as maximal CRP or elevated PCT in fever periods without severe sepsis, but in fever periods with severe sepsis, the cortisol response was attenuated.
    Annals of Hematology 03/2011; 90(12):1467-75. · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To compare semi-quantitative procalcitonin with C-reactive protein in predicting bacteraemia in haematological patients with neutropenic fever. A total of 77 patients treated with intensive chemotherapy for haematological malignancy at Kuopio University Hospital were candidates for study entry. Eleven of these patients did not fulfil the criteria for neutropenic fever, and 66 patients were finally included. Nineteen patients had acute myeloid leukaemia and 47 had received high-dose chemotherapy supported by autologous stem cell transplant. Ninety neutropenic fever episodes in these 66 patients fulfilled the study entry criteria, with microbiological cultures, procalcitonin and C-reactive protein measurements available. Serum procalcitonin and C-reactive protein were analyzed at the onset of each neutropenic fever episode on day 0, and then daily from days 1 to 4. Bacteraemia was observed in 21 episodes (23%) and the criteria for severe sepsis were fulfilled in 13 episodes (14%). Half of the bacteraemic episodes were caused by Gram-negative bacteria. The kinetics of procalcitonin and C-reactive protein were similar, with increasing levels for 2 to 4 days after the onset of fever. The procalcitonin level on days 1, 2, 3 and 4 was associated with bacteraemia and Gram-negative bacteraemia, but not with the development of severe sepsis. On day 1, a procalcitonin level above 0.5 ng/ml had a sensitivity of 57% and 70% and specificity of 81% and 77% to predict bacteraemia and Gram-negative bacteraemia, respectively. An elevated level of procalcitonin within 24 h after the onset of neutropenic fever predicts bacteraemia and Gram-negative bacteraemia in haematological patients.
    Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 02/2011; 43(6-7):471-8. · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In a previous study we observed an increasing trend in candidemia in Finland in the 1990s. Our aim was now to investigate further population-based secular trends, as well as outcome, and evaluate the association of fluconazole consumption and prophylaxis policy with the observed findings. We analyzed laboratory-based surveillance data on candidemia from the National Infectious Diseases Register during 2004-2007 in Finland. Data on fluconazole consumption, expressed as defined daily doses, DDDs, was obtained from the National Agency for Medicines, and regional prophylaxis policies were assessed by a telephone survey. A total of 603 candidemia cases were identified. The average annual incidence rate was 2.86 cases per 100,000 population (range by year, 2.59-3.09; range by region, 2.37-3.85). The highest incidence was detected in males aged >65 years (12.23 per 100,000 population). Candida albicans accounted for 67% of cases, and C. glabrata ranked the second (19%), both without any significant change in proportions. C. parapsilosis accounted for 5% of cases and C. krusei 3% of cases. The one-month case-fatality varied between 28-32% during the study period. Fluconazole consumption increased from 19.57 DDDs per 100,000 population in 2000 to 25.09 in 2007. Systematic fluconazole prophylaxis was implemented for premature neonates, patients with acute leukemias and liver transplant patients. The dominant proportion of C. albicans remained stable, but C. glabrata was the most frequent non-albicans species. The proportion of C. glabrata had increased from our previous study period in the presence of increasing use of fluconazole. The rate of candidemia in Finland is still low but mortality high like in other countries.
    BMC Infectious Diseases 10/2010; 10:312. · 3.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Serum amino-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) is considered as a prognostic marker in patients with severe sepsis or septic shock, but no data are available on NT-proBNP kinetics in hematological patients with neutropenic fever. Altogether 70 hematological patients with neutropenic fever were included in this prospective study. NT-proBNP and C-reactive protein (CRP) were determined at the beginning of the neutropenic fever (d0) and then daily up to 3-4 days. The median NT-proBNP (interquartile range) increased from 127 (57-393) ng/L on d0 to 542 (194-1385) ng/L on d4. The increment of CRP was from 35 (17-61) mg/L on d0 to 109 (56-109) mg/L on d2. Neither serial NT-proBNP nor CRP predicted development of severe sepsis, but NT-proBNP was significantly higher in patients with previous cardiovascular disease than in those without. NT-proBNP seemed to reflect cardiac distress, but it did not help to predict the development of severe sepsis in this patient group.
    Leukemia & lymphoma 06/2010; 51(6):1040-6. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The value of plasma fibrinogen and antithrombin as predictors of severe sepsis was investigated in 69 adult hematological patients, who had altogether 93 periods of neutropenic fever. Patients had either acute myeloid leukemia or had received a high dose of chemotherapy supported by autologous stem cell transplantation. In febrile periods with severe sepsis, the median fibrinogen concentration at the start of the fever was significantly higher (5.0 g/L) than that without severe sepsis (4.5 g/L) (p=0.009). Normal plasma fibrinogen could rule out a group of patients with severe sepsis at the beginning of the fever. The antithrombin activity decreased, both in fever periods with severe sepsis and in those without. The decrease in antithrombin activity was found to be greater in fever periods characterized by severe sepsis. In conclusion, elevated plasma fibrinogen and constantly decreasing antithrombin were shown to be linked to the development of severe sepsis. KeywordsFibrinogen-Antithrombin-Severe sepsis-Neutropenic fever-Hematological patients
    Central European Journal of Medicine 01/2010; 5(4):520-526. · 0.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Elevated plasma lactate and impaired lactate clearance have been associated with poor outcome in patients with severe sepsis. No data are available on the kinetics or prognostic value of plasma lactate in haematological patients with neutropenic fever. A total of 70 haematological patients with 94 episodes of neutropenic fever were included into this prospective study during the period 2006-2008. The median age of the patients was 56 (range 18-70) y. Nineteen patients received therapy for acute myeloid leukaemia and 51 patients received autologous stem cell transplantation. At the onset and on days 1, 2, and 3 of each neutropenic fever episode, plasma lactate and serum C-reactive protein were determined. Criteria for severe sepsis were fulfilled in 13 neutropenic episodes. An elevated plasma lactate level was infrequent at the start of neutropenic fever (5%). There was no association of lactate level with the development of severe sepsis. Two patients died of septic shock, 1 patient with an exceptionally high and increasing level of lactate and the other patient with a normal lactate level. An elevated plasma lactate level at the start of neutropenic fever is not common and does not indicate severe sepsis, but high lactate and an impaired lactate decrease may signify a fatal course in neutropenic fever.
    Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 11/2009; 42(2):102-8. · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Deep, respiratory tract and ear infections due to Microascaceae (Pseudallescheria, Scedosporium, Microascus or Scopulariopsis) were studied nationwide in Finland during 1993-2002. The data were based on 52,000 fungal cultures that represented about 50% of all such specimens in Finland and included all Finnish cases of profound immunosuppression. There were 39 cases that were re-evaluated as clinically significant, i.e., three pneumonias, two deep pedal infections and five wound infections, 11 sinusitis and 18 ear infections. The pedal infections and most pneumonias occurred in immunocompromised patients. Most cases, except the ear infections, were due to Pseudallescheria boydii. Two patients had lethal P. boydii pneumonia and a deep P. boydii infection of the foot contributed to a third lethal case. Two of the patients with lethal outcomes had received an allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT). Two patients with haematological malignancies were cured of deep site infections by a prolonged course of itraconazole. Wound, sinus and ear infections were cured or improved by local surgery or topical therapy. There were 0.8-1.7 cases of any type of infection per million inhabitants per year (MY) and 3.4 cases/1000 AHSCT. Mortality associated with Microascaceae in any type of patient was 0.06-0.12 MY.
    Medical mycology: official publication of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology 09/2009; 48(3):458-65. · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is considered to be of importance in patients with sepsis. No data are available on VEGF kinetics in haematological patients with neutropenic fever. Forty-two haematological patients were included into this prospective study. Median age was 57 yr (range 18-70). Fifteen patients received therapy for acute myeloid leukaemia and 27 patients received autologous stem cell transplantation for haematological malignancy. Laboratory samples for the determination of C-reactive protein (CRP) and VEGF were collected at the start of fever (d0) and then daily. The median serum VEGF concentrations were low in all study patients. In patients with severe sepsis (n = 5) the median VEGF on d0 was higher than in septic patients without signs of hypoperfusion or hypotension (n = 37) (77 pg/mL vs. 52 pg/mL, P = 0.061). Also on d1 the median VEGF concentration was higher in patients with severe sepsis (82 pg/mL vs. 56 pg/mL, P = 0.048). There were no statistically significant differences in CRP values on any day during the study period between patients with severe sepsis and those without. Time from d0 to the peak VEGF concentration (mean 1.02, SE 0.18 d) was shorter than that to the peak CRP concentration (mean 1.93, SE 0.15 d) (P = 0.002). Compared to CRP, serum VEGF was a more rapid indicator for sepsis in our haematological patients with neutropenic fever. Those with severe sepsis had higher VEGF concentrations than those without on d0 and d1 after the onset of fever. Further studies on VEGF are warranted in haematological patients.
    European Journal Of Haematology 04/2009; 83(3):251-7. · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Infectious complications are the main reason for early treatment-related mortality after autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). We evaluated retrospectively microbiological aetiology, risk factors and clinical consequences of severe sepsis in this patient cohort. From 1996 to 2006 a total of 319 patients underwent ASCT at our institution. Antibacterial prophylaxis was not used. Neutropenic fever occurred in 83% (n=265) and was complicated by severe sepsis in 5% (n=17) of patients. Severe sepsis tended to be more common in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) than in other patients (9% vs 3%, p=0.009). Bacteraemia was observed more commonly in patients with severe sepsis (76% vs 22%, p<0.001); Pseudomonas sp. was found in 30% (n=5) of these patients. Kinetics of C-reactive protein (CRP) more commonly coincided with, rather than predicted, the development of severe sepsis. All other observed risk factors for severe sepsis (length of neutropenia, fever and blood culture findings) were late indicators. Severe sepsis was fatal in 9 patients (53%), and all had NHL (p=0.003 compared to other patients). Severe sepsis is an important cause of early mortality after ASCT, especially in NHL patients. Ways to prevent development of severe sepsis or predict its development might reduce early mortality among ASCT recipients.
    Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 10/2008; 41(1):14-20. · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to evaluate etiology and consequences of neutropenic fever in AML patients. Two hundred and ninety neutropenic periods following chemotherapy in 84 AML patients were retrospectively evaluated. Neutropenic fever was found in 280 periods (97%). Severe sepsis developed in 35 occasions (13%) and 9 patients (11%) died due to severe sepsis. In 165 episodes with neutropenic fever (59%), the potential causative organism was found in blood cultures. Gram-negative bacteria were more commonly found in patients who developed severe sepsis (40% vs. 23%, p = 0.03). CRP after 2 - 3 days from start with fever was higher in patients with severe sepsis (190 mg/L vs. 96 mg/L, p < 0.001) but the rise in CRP rather coincided than preceded with the development of severe sepsis. Severe sepsis is associated with significant mortality in AML patients. Earlier methods than CRP are needed to predict development of severe sepsis.
    Leukemia & lymphoma 03/2008; 49(3):495-501. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of caspofungin in patients treated in Finland during the period 2001-2004. The medical records of 78 adult patients treated with caspofungin in five major hospitals were reviewed retrospectively. Fifty-nine (76%) patients had proven invasive fungal infection, of whom 22 (28%) had aspergillosis and 37 (47%) had candidiasis. Nineteen (24%) patients were treated empirically; only 13 (17%) patients received caspofungin as primary therapy. A favourable response was achieved in 52 (67%) patients. The response rate was 78% in patients with candidiasis, and 50% in patients with aspergillosis. At the end of the study period, 40 (51%) patients remained alive; of the 38 deaths, nine (24%) were caused by fungal infection. The response rates were lower, although not significantly, for patients with high (>20) vs. low (< or =20) Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE II) scores (response rate 50% vs. 68%, p 0.48, respectively), and were also lower in patients with long-term (>20 days) vs. shorter duration (< or =20 days) neutropenia (55% vs. 73%, p 0.32, respectively), and in those with an underlying haematological malignancy vs. patients with other diseases (59% vs. 73%, p 0.2, respectively). In five (6%) patients, caspofungin therapy was discontinued prematurely because of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) (elevated liver enzyme values in three patients, neuropathic pain in one, and skin rash in one). Serious ADRs occurred in two (3%) patients (severe hepatic insufficiency with consequent death, and eosinophilia with elevated alkaline phosphatase levels), and laboratory abnormalities, mostly mild and reversible, in 24 (31%) patients. In this unselected patient population, caspofungin was safe, well-tolerated, and had an efficacy comparable to that in previous reports from prospective trials.
    Clinical Microbiology and Infection 07/2007; 13(6):606-12. · 4.58 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

131 Citations
60.08 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2012
    • University of Eastern Finland
      • Institute of Clinical Medicine
      Joensuu, Province of Eastern Finland, Finland
  • 2007–2012
    • Kuopio University Hospital
      • Department of Medicine
      Kuopio, Province of Eastern Finland, Finland
  • 2010
    • University of Kuopio
      Kuopio, Eastern Finland Province, Finland