Paediatric Intensive Care
At the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, we provide life support treatment. We treat patients who, when an organ fails, require specific treatment to replace that organ’s function. We are a leading reference ICU for congenital heart disease, solid organ transplants, neurocritical patients, burns and spinal cord injuries.
Our mission as a paediatric ICU is to take care of children's health, through effective, efficient and quality health care in the treatment of diseases.
More specifically, our objectives are:
- To provide the best care for children with serious illnesses, using diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative techniques.
- To advance knowledge of clinical paediatrics and the treatment of children in critical condition through scientific evidence, our expertise and professional qualification.
- To guarantee the best possible diagnostic and therapeutic methods. To achieve this, we have a staff of highly trained professionals.
- To collaborate in the postoperative management of cardiac surgery, lung transplants and pulmonary arterial hypertension; we provide care to any patient from Catalonia or from other regions of Spain.
To achieve these goals and treat children with specific illnesses and different physiological conditions, a highly qualified team and innovative technology are essential for us to adapt to the reality of each specific case.
Paediatric Intensive Care professionals require specific training. All our staff are highly qualified to recognise signs of serious conditions and the complications that might go with them, as well as being able to decide the correct doses for treatments. The combined expertise of our team is the key behind the prestige the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit enjoys internationally.
The Paediatric ICU is open to families. Not only do the parents and children accompany their baby, but so do the brothers and sisters through the Siblings Project, a pioneering project that began in 2014 at the request of a child who wanted to see his brother who had been admitted.
Both families and patients can benefit from the Sol Solet Programme, where we organise an ICU outing to sunbathe as a family. Nothing is left to chance on these outings.
Our Paediatric ICU came to life in 1968, and was the first in Spain. Nowadays, it is a specialised area where we have the most innovative technologies to allow us to apply advanced therapies for children who need specific life support treatment.
Portfolio of services
- Postoperative management of patients who have undergone: cardiac failure, cardiac surgery or liver, lung, heart or kidney transplant
- Support with blood flow and absorption of molecules
- Invasive and non-invasive conventional mechanical ventilation
- High-frequency oscillating ventilation
- Continuous veno-venous haemofiltration in critical patients with liver, respiratory or renal failure.
- Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation technique (ECMO) for cardiovascular and respiratory support, in cases where conventional treatment is ineffective
- Resuscitation and treatment of serious burns (burned surface >= 20%)
Vall d’Hebron’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit was launched in 1968. Dr. Joan Sauleda, who was its first head, recalls the evolution that led to creating the pioneering Intensive Care Unit, which today, directed by Dr. Joan Balcells, is still the biggest in Catalonia.
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.
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.