The Minister of Health reviews the new area..

The Minister of Health reviews the new area..
  1. This new area, Balcells stresses, “represents another step in the construction of the new Val d’Hebron, a very important step in responding to heart disease, which is becoming increasingly widespread.”
  2. The hospital treats more and more patients with complex conditions due to the ageing population: from 800 patients in critical and semi-critical condition admitted in 2012 to 1,286 in 2022.
  3. The new facilities include over 1,446 square metres equipped with the latest technology to care for patients with acute cardiac conditions, as well as a day hospital for cardiology and echocardiography rooms to perform tests of the highest complexity.
  4. The commitment to providing comprehensive care is complemented by three renovated hemodynamics rooms on the ground floor.

The Minister of Health, Manel Balcells i Díaz, today officially presented the new Cardiac Area and the three new Hemodynamic Rooms at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona. The center has taken a new step in the comprehensive care of patients with acute cardiac diseases with the complete overhaul of the Cardiac Area, with an area of ​​1,446 square meters and equipped with the latest technology that includes a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, more than one day cardiology hospital rooms and echocardiography to perform the most complex tests.

Counselor Balsils highlighted this. “The new cardiac area is designed to provide integrated care for patients with acute cardiac conditions, both now and in the future.” He stressed that “It is another step in the construction of the new Val d’Hebron; a very important step in responding to heart diseases that are becoming increasingly prevalent.”

Medicine has revolutionized cardiovascular health. The death rate from heart problems has risen from 600 per 100,000 in 1950 to 168 per 100,000 today thanks to advances in treatment. In Catalonia, the creation of the Heart Attack Code (IAM Code) in 2009 was crucial, which involves the coordination of the Emergency Medical Service (SEM) and the receiving hospital in the form of a pre-alert, which allows cardiovascular services to provide patients with the best treatment in the shortest possible time.

Despite this, cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death in developed countries, according to the World Health Organization. In order to continue to advance treatment and provide comprehensive care to patients with heart disease, the Val d’Hebron University Hospital has carried out a major renovation of the 9th floor of the General Hospital to accommodate new departments in the Cardiology area. The project was completed with the renovation of three hemodynamic rooms on the ground floor, next to the Emergency Department, equipped with the latest technology. “The Vall d’Hebron Hospital offers complete care to patients with heart diseases, both adult and perinatal patients. We continue to work on building the New Vall d’Hebron, with these new spaces oriented towards excellence in treatment and healthcare for patients accompanied by the guarantee of maximum well-being during their stay in the hospital.”summarizes Albert Salazar, Director of the University Hospital of Vall d’Hebron.

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The remodelling of the new Área del Cor area cost more than €2.9 million, in addition to almost €1 million in equipment financed by PERT (Strategic Technological Renewal Plan) funds and €1.5 million financed by REACT funds. PERT funds also financed the equipment of one of the hemodynamic rooms for €946,845. The cost of equipping the other two circulation rooms was €869,817, financed by the Ministry of Health’s INVEAT (Investment in Advanced Technology Equipment) plan. The cost of building the three circulation rooms was €880,382. The total cost of the works and equipment was €9 million. This expansion comes in addition to the recent renovation of the Arrhythmia Unit, which included the opening of a new room for highly complex procedures.

The new branches of Área del Cor have a surface area of ​​more than 1,446 square meters and focus on critical and semi-critical cardiac patients, the day cardiology hospital and echocardiography rooms. The cardiac intensive care unit consists of ten single rooms for critical patients and five double rooms for semi-critical patients. The space has been designed to expand the beds if necessary and to provide care centered on the person: the critical patient rooms are individual to benefit the privacy of the patients.

“The number of admissions for patients with cardiac diseases has increased in recent years, both in terms of number and complexity, a trend that is expected to continue or grow in the medium term.”“Explains Ignacio Ferreira, head of the Cardiology Service. In 2012, Val d’Hebron registered a total of 800 patients in critical and semi-critical condition admitted to cardiology: in 2022 there were 1,286 patients. “In recent years, there has been a very rapid progress in the number of patients admitted for veno-arterial ECMO support in the context of refractory cardiorespiratory arrest due to a cardiac cause, and who have been admitted to the new cardiac intensive care unit in the region. The heart is recovering.”“José Antonio Barrabes, Head of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, points out:Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery Services recently launched the Mechanical Ventricular Assist Program as a destination treatment. Cardiopulmonary support techniques are becoming increasingly complex, as are the number of patients being resuscitated after serious cardiovascular events requiring hospitalization..

All rooms in the new Área del Cor have an exterior design and natural light. The medical devices that generate patient data continuously are linked to a central control with the Centricity Critical Care (CCC) software, which is shared by all the intensive care units and resuscitation units (REA) of Vall d’Hebron to facilitate continuous patient monitoring, clinical and organizational decision-making, as well as the creation of a large database for hospital management and research.

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All monitoring in the cardiac area has also been renewed. The new monitoring devices allow obtaining information such as the depth of anesthesia, the level of muscle relaxation and the patient’s cardiac output without the need for other peripheral equipment. In addition, a new video patient monitoring system has been integrated with 15 cameras – one in each room – in order to have continuous visual monitoring that facilitates early action in risk situations, and also allows the distinction of details with high quality 24 hours a day and night. The new Área del Cor area has a monitoring center, video surveillance and medication pumps to know the status of patients at all times from nursing control. Supply towers have been installed in the rooms that centralize the gases, plugs and sockets necessary for all equipment in two single points to facilitate the connection of equipment and reduce all wires. Medical computers have also been installed inside the rooms and high-level ventilation.

As a result of this reform, women with heart disease who have given birth and must spend between 24 and 48 hours under observation in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (UCC) will be able to accompany their babies in semi-critical care rooms. “In collaboration with specialists in the neonatology service, we launched this project that allows mothers with heart disease to be with their babies day and night, as long as the medical condition of both the baby and the mother allows it, in order to promote breastfeeding and the bond between mother and baby from the beginning.”“It is a very important step,” explains Mercy Andorra, nursing supervisor for critical and semi-critical cardiac patients.

The new branches of the Cardiology Department of the Day Hospital Cardiology and the Transesophageal Echocardiography rooms have been completed. In this area, both inpatients and outpatients who require an invasive examination, such as catheterization, or who need to undergo very complex ultrasounds are treated: stress echocardiogram, transesophageal ultrasound with sedation or ultrasound with contrast. Outpatients are treated with regular ultrasound on the second floor of the Vall d’Hebron. “Val d’Hebron is a reference centre in family cardiology and aortic disease, both CSUR (Centre, Service and Reference Unit, awarded by the Ministry of Health) and ERN (European Reference Networks), and therefore they refer patients to us with the greatest complexity.”“In order to take care of them with the utmost care, the ultrasound rooms in the new Área del Cor area have high-quality echocardiography devices that allow continuous monitoring of patients during the examination,” recalls José Fernando Rodríguez Palomares, Head of the Cardiac Imaging Unit of the Cardiology Service. “The bike for carrying out endurance tests has also been renovated, now incorporating in the same device a system for monitoring non-invasive blood pressure (NBP) during the study without the need to integrate additional devices, such as blood pressure monitors.”

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Three new hemodynamic chambers

The commitment of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital to comprehensive care for cardiac patients is completed by the renovation of the three rooms of the Hemodynamics Unit where adult and pediatric patients are treated in two distinct circuits. This is where the heart attack codes come in and diseases of the coronary arteries and other parts of the heart such as valves or congenital defects are diagnosed and treated. In one year, 2,500 patients are intervened, including 300 emergency cases in adult patients and 220 in children. Depending on the diagnosis and profile, the patient is discharged or admitted to the hospital (adult or pediatric) or to the pediatric intensive care units or the cardiac intensive care rooms.

“80% of patients are adults with ischemic heart disease.”“It is a very important step,” says Dr. Bruno Garcia de Blanco, Head of the Hemodynamics Unit. “We get ischemia when cholesterol plaques build up in the coronary arteries, which are the arteries that carry blood to the myocardium, which is the muscle tissue of the heart that pumps blood through the circulatory system.”explains. Ischemia reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood and can cause serious complications. The circulation rooms are equipped with technology that allows accurate diagnosis and immediate treatment to be performed simultaneously. In order to reduce the procedure time from the time the patient arrives at the emergency department until receiving treatment, the entire procedure takes place in the same room. Two of the rooms have the particularity of having two arches that allow you to see the patient’s heart from the inside in real time in two planes and without moving it from the table. The remaining 20% ​​of patients who pass through the circulation rooms suffer from structural heart disease. As a reference center for the treatment of congenital heart disease in children, part of the pediatric patients are newborns, and they are cared for thanks to the coordination of the obstetrics, cardiology and neonatology teams.

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