Echocardiogram and cardiac imaging unit
The echocardiogram and cardiac imaging unit is a unit within the Cardiology Department dedicated to carrying out the non-invasive imaging tests required to diagnose different heart conditions. These tests are carried out both for outpatients and those admitted to hospital and are designed to serve both the Cardiology Department and all the specialisations within the hospital and primary care.
The unit currently has an advanced 2D and 3D echocardiogram laboratory, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, computerised tomography and nuclear medicine techniques such as SPECT and PET, all due to the increase in the number of pathologies benefiting from a cardiology assessment and diagnostic techniques over the last few years. At its core, the echocardiogram and imaging techniques unit is a multidisciplinary unit focusing on cardiology diagnosis for each individual.
Our unit carries out tests to diagnose different cardiac conditions. These have become more significant in recent years, mainly due to the higher life expectancy of the population. There has been an increase in cardiology tests for several reasons: cardiovascular disease affects patients over a wider age range due to the improvements in cardiology treatments which has lead to increased life expectancy for cardiology patients, and cardiac imaging is also being used by other specialisations such as neurology, pneumology, internal medicine and also in primary care. In addition, cardiac imaging techniques are constantly evolving and being updated, and this area has become an essential specialisation for a hospital to function.
Portfolio of Services:
- Echocardiogram laboratory: transthoracic echocardiogram (three dimensional echocardiogram and 2D strain tools), transesophageal echocardiogram (three dimensional echocardiogram) and stress echocardiogram (through exercise or pharmacology).
- Guidewire with transesophageal echocardiogram during valvular cardiac surgery or structural intervention.
- Basal and stress cardiac MRI, cardiac and coronary tomography, cardiac and large vessel computed tomography angiography. Multidisciplinary unit with the Radiology Department
- Computerised tomography with single photon emission (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET-CT). Multidisciplinary unit with the Nuclear Medicine Department
- Annual training course in advanced echocardiography for cardiologists. Multi-method sessions in cardiac imaging.
- Annual course in basic training in echocardiography for non-cardiologists and advanced echocardiography for anaesthesia and intensive care medicine.
- Undergraduate training at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB)
- Residents training programme
- Biomedical engineering training programme from Pompeu Fabra University (UPF).
- Weekly clinical sessions
- Bi-monthly cardiogenetics sessions
- Monthly aorta unit sessions.
- Two annual training courses in basic echocardiography and advanced echocardiography for cardiologists and non-cardiologists.
The echocardiography and cardiac imaging unit takes part in numerous studies and clinical trials and leads a significant number of them. There is an acquired and inherited aortic pathology research group. The Unit’s main lines of research are:
-Inherited aortic pathology (genetic or otherwise). The Marfan syndrome and associated conditions unit.
-Aortic syndrome: diagnosis, management and monitoring
-Bicuspid aortic valve (valvular dysfunction and dilatation of the aorta)
- Aortic stenosis. Severity, complex aspects and management.
- Imaging applications for infectious endocarditis and for the embolic source.
- Myocardiopathies. From genetic aspects to the phenotypical characterisation and treatment.
- Multi-method echocardiogram imaging in CT scans and MRI. Group developing knowledge of 4D-flow MRI for the aorta.
Teaching unit: Cardiology
Related professionals: Dr Artur Evangelista Masip, Dr Jose F. Rodríguez Palomares, Dr Teresa González Alujas, Dr Hug Cuéllar Calabria, Dr Gisela Teixidó Tura, Dr Albert Roque, Dr Laura Gutiérrez, Dr Laura Galian Gay, Dr Santi Aguadé Bruix
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.
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.
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