The Cardiac Surgery Department provides care for patients with heart disease who require an operation. This branch of medicine is highly specialised and requires expert staff. Our department is a pioneer in the Catalan public health system, and has grown significantly since it was officially created on 24 January 1972.
Our activity at the Cardiac Surgery Department has been linked to the history of medicine and, more specifically, to the history of cardiac surgery in Catalonia. Thanks to advances made in cardiac surgery and cardiology in general, we have been able to keep our Department at the forefront. We have also benefited from the change from a national health system to the current autonomous health system run by regions, regulated by the Catalan Health Service through the Catalan Health Institute.
The history of our Department dates back to the 60s, when Dr Paravisini performed the first operations to repair the heart's mitral valve, the so-called "mitral comissurotomies". In following years, cardiac surgery with extracorporeal circulation took off, which is the technique used to replace the heart’s function as a pump in order to stop the heart and be able to operate on it. Surgical activity established itself as commonplace towards the end of the 70s. It was not until the 80s, however, with the arrival of Dr Murtra, that a programme of operations with protocols was really established, with pioneering results at the time. The number of patients we treat has increased steadily: from 400 cases a year with extracorporeal circulation in the 80s, up to 600 today.
Our current catchment area covers over one million people, and includes the northeastern area of Catalonia, including the counties of Girona, Lleida and the north of the Barcelonès county. This is an extremely large area in terms of geography, but with a lower population density than other regions. In order to provide care for this area, we have created the Multihospital Care Department.
Resident cardiovascular doctors, as well as doctors from other specialties that rotate in our Department temporarily, join the Departmental team in performing preoperative studies, both in recommending surgery and in surgical procedures themselves, with a varying degree of involvement, depending on where they are in their studies. These doctors join in the post-operative care after cardiac surgery and provide further care on the ward, as well as helping in outpatient clinics.
Portfolio of services
- Circulatory assistance
- Extracorporeal circulation
- Coronary surgery
- Coronary surgery without extracorporeal circulation
- Aortic surgery
- Surgery of arrhythmias
- Aorta root surgery
- Mitral valvular repair
- Aortic valve replacement
- Aortic valve repair
Jordi Fernández, law student and head of the Tívoli Theatre in Barcelona, was born with congenital heart disease. He has been a patient at Hospital Vall d’Hebron his whole life. The hospital is one of the most advanced in Spain in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart disease, thanks to the team in the Paediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery Department, led by Dr. Raúl Abella and Dr. Ferran Rosés i Noguer.
The constant search for excellence is part of Hospital Vall d’Hebron’s nature. The biggest hospital in Catalonia and the leader in many fields, headed since February 2015 by Dr. Vicenç Martínez Ibáñez, who has a close personal and professional relationship with the Hospital. Dr. Martínez Ibáñez says that if Vall d’Hebron did not exist, it would need to be invented. The current director trained at the hospital, where he was one of the protagonists of an historic moment: the first paediatric liver transplant in Spain. Now, he is committed to continuing this legacy and, always putting the patient first, achieving excellence across all staff.
The Neonatology Department’s Sibling Project is a workshop for the siblings of new-born babies admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in the Vall d’Hebron Maternity and Children's Hospital. Through simulated games and situations, the project prepares them to get used to seeing their younger siblings in a hospital medical setting.
Vall d’Hebron University Hospital’s kitchen serves more than 1,000 meals a day, twice a day, not counting breakfast. A reality that José Parrilla and Carmina Esteban know all too well.From three kitchens to one and from coal to gas. That is how the hospital’s catering service has evolved. A place where the needs of each patient must be taken into account and where there is room for small, juicy anecdotes.
The former head of the Thoracic Surgery Department, Dr. Mercè Canela, recently retired, recalls the important evolution of the Department to become a leader in Spain and a lung transplant pioneer. A task made possible thanks to collaboration with professionals from other departments, an added value in the personal and team environment.
Rosalia Moure arrived at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in 1967. She spent her entire working life in the linen and laundry department of the Hospital. Rosalia Moure has witnessed the Hospital’s big transformations, from dictatorship to democracy and from analogue to digital systems.
Dr. Josep Sánchez de Toledo Codina, head of the Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Department, tells us about a Department that has laid the foundations for the specialism in Spain. He also remembers the evolution of transplants from haematopoietic stem cells and progenitors, from the beginning, buying the material at a shop in Barcelona city centre, to the more than 1,200 transplants that have now been performed.
Dr. Francesc Bosch, Head of the Haematology Department, talks about the complexity of the Department, which has turned Vall d’Hebron into a reference centre in haematology thanks to its commitment to transplants and the use of new treatments. The Clinical Trials Unit helps a lot, giving access to treatments for complex patients.