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Kauko Vainio (1913–1989): pioneer of rheumaorthopaedic surgery
  1. Janis Timsans1,
  2. Raine Tiihonen2,
  3. Markku Kauppi1,3
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology, Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, Lahti, Finland
  2. 2Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, Lahti, Finland
  3. 3University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Janis Timsans, Department of Rheumatology, Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, Lahti 15850, Finland; janis.timsans{at}

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We now live in a time of numerous pharmacological treatment possibilities for the most common rheumatic disorders. Already in the year 1978, the idea of need to start treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the early stages of disease to both reduce inflammation and prevent erosions and make patient’s quality of life better for years to come was introduced by Finnish rheumatologists.1 This statement has later been accepted internationally, when joint damage in RA has become to a significant extent preventable due to disease modifying medication and thus remission is now an ultimate treatment target.2 Effective antirheumatic drugs have made it possible to reach remission in a large proportion of patients.3 The situation has not been like that for long though. Just a few decades ago there was a huge lack of effective treatments for rheumatic disorders, and they led to severe joint damage in many patients. It frequently required utilisation of joint surgery, which evolved into a crucial part of treatment for patients with chronic inflammatory joint disorders. Even nowadays, despite pharmacological treatment advances, it is not an uncommon situation that a patient who has not been able to achieve remission needs to undergo joint surgery.

We would like to tell the readers of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases the history of Professor Kauko Vainio—the pioneer of rheumaorthopaedic surgery, whose work and scientific innovations were pivotal in advancing the discipline and have been crucial in the treatment of patients with chronic arthritis.

Early life and beginning of medical career

Kauko Juhani Vainio was born on 1 May 1913, in Sääminki, Eastern Finland. He embarked on his journey to greatness by earning his medical degree in 1939. His graduation from medical school took place on the brink of World War II in 1939, and following graduation he was immediately drafted for war service as …

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  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Contributors JT is guarantor and accepts responsibility for the work. All authors contributed to the drafting of the manuscript. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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