Coronary care unit
The CCU is a hospital unit dedicated to treating patients with critical cardiovascular conditions. It was created in 1971 as a medical-surgical unit to admit patients suffering acute myocardial infarction and other acute cardiovascular medical pathologies and to offer post-operative care for patients following cardiac surgery. In 1989 it was divided into two and the current took charge of patients with medical pathologies and became part of the Cardiology Department. The CCU has 10 hospital beds for critical patients and 4 for semi-critical patients, and plays an important role in healthcare, with around 1000 admissions per year. Two thirds of admissions are due to acute myocardial infarction and the rest are due to acute cardiovascular syndromes such as heart failure or non-ischemic cardiogenic shock, resuscitated cardiorespiratory arrest, and other severe tachyarrhythmia and bradyarrhythmia. Acute aortic syndrome, cardiac tamponade and after complex or complicated structural or electrophysiology procedures.
The reputation of Vall d’Hebron Hospital Campus as a leading centre for pathologies such as adult congenital heart defects and acute aortic syndrome means the Unit admits a relatively high number of patients with these conditions. In terms of patient severity, the approximate number of patients admitted following resuscitated cardiorespiratory arrest is 50-60 per year, and at the time of admission between 65 and 75 patients present with cardiogenic shock and 60-70 are receiving invasive mechanical ventilation. The team is comprised of four cardiologists and a nursing supervisor in addition to six nurses plus assistants, security and administrative staff on each shift. A team is on duty at the hospital outside working hours and 24-hours a day over national holidays and weekends.
The CCU is completely integrated into the Cardiology Department, one of the most prestigious centres in the country, which enables us to constantly enhance our professionals’ training through daily clinical sessions and interaction with colleagues from the department who have extensive experience in their fields. There is also fluid interaction with professionals from other specialisations at the hospital to guarantee our patients receive the very best care.
Equipment and portfolio of services
- Electrocardiogram recorders
- Defibrillators, cardiac arrest equipment trolley
- High-flow nasal cannula
- Invasive and non-invasive mechanical ventilation
- Insertion of central venous lines and arterial cannulas
- Invasive haemodynamic monitoring with Swan Ganz catheter
- Semi-invasive monitoring with Vigileo monitors and FloTrac sensors
- Temporary transvenous pacemaker insertion
- Doppler echocardiogram with transthoracic and transesophageal probe
- Ultrasound with vascular probe for guided vascular puncture
- Pericardiocentesis and pericardial drainage
- Thoracentesis and pleural drainage
- Ultrafiltration and continuous hemodiafiltration
- Intra-aortic counter-pulsation balloon
- Short-term ventricular support systems, IMPELLA CP and ECMO-VA, the latter within the hospitals multidisciplinary ECMO programme.
- Intravascular therapeutic hypothermia system
- Transfer trolley with monitor, defibrillator and cardiac arrest equipment
- Undergraduate training at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)
- Residents training programme
- Daily clinical session by the Cardiology Department
- Multidisciplinary sessions (cardiac surgery, aortic pathology, endocarditis, and so on)
- Participation in the Biomedical and Translational Research master’s programme by given by the VHIR and UAB
- Participation in theoretical and practical training activities promoted by the Catalan Society of Cardiology, the Spanish Society of Cardiology and the Acute Cardiac Care Association of the European Society of Cardiology
The CCU takes part in numerous studies and clinical trials with private or competitive public financing and leads a significant number of them. Over the last five years, its members have authored or co-authored 80 articles indexed in PubMed, with a total impact factor of 338. The Unit’s main lines of research are:
- Mechanisms, prognosis and management of ischemic cardiac rupture and other mechanical complications of a heart attack
- The role of platelet activation and microvascular thrombosis in myocardial damage after ischemia-reperfusion and in ventricular remodelling
- Care strategies for patients with a chronic lack of anticoagulation and who are given a stent implant
- A study of the factors of thrombosis and fibrinolysis in patients with acute coronary syndrome
- A study of the prognostic role of an electrocardiogram and biochemical markers during the acute phase of ischemic heart disease
- A study of the prognostic factors following resuscitated cardiorespiratory arrest
Dr José A. Barrabés Riu, head of section
Dr Rosa-Maria Lidón Corbí, senior doctor
Dr Antonia Sambola Ayala, senior doctor
Dr Jordi Bañeras Rius, senior doctor
Ms Mercè Andorrà Lòpez, nursing supervisor
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.
The Master's Degree in Biomedical and Translational Research is an official programme created to train researchers with the requisite combination of scientific knowledge and skills to contribute to the future success of biomedical research.
Fermín Fernández Álvarez, Porter Coordinator, explains the importance of the role these professionals play in the hospital. After 36 years at Vall d’Hebron, Fermín is a real master of the ways things are done. He says that a porter has to combine humility, discretion and safety with a single goal: that patients receive human and friendly treatment.