The Digestive System Department caters for patients with digestive diseases with an emphasis on technical and human excellence.
The mission of our Department is to improve the quality of life of patients with digestive diseases, through the development of knowledge (research), and the transmission of knowledge and values (training).
The activity of the Department includes:
- The highest quality comprehensive care, from the primary level (outpatients) to high-complexity processes.
- Support as a reference centre for other professional groups in the specialty and related fields, such as bleeding, inflammatory diseases, digestive motility/function and pancreas.
- University integration for developing medicine studies and participation in research networks through programmes of excellence.
- Support for society, both in the field of associations of professionals as well as for patients, by means of initiatives to improve care for patients with digestive diseases, continuous training for professionals and general dissemination programmes.
Hospitalisation Ward: this offers care services to the population in the surrounding SAP Mountain area and serves as a reference unit in Catalonia for the referral of patients with hard-to-diagnose/treat patients from hospitals in the Barcelona province (Mollet Hospital, Granollers Hospital, Calella Hospital, San Rafael Hospital, Vic General Hospital) or from level three hospitals from other parts of Catalonia (such as Arnau de Vilanova Hospital, in Lleida, or Josep Trueta Hospital, in Girona). It has 24 beds for hospitalisation for patients admitted with digestive diseases.
Outpatient Clinic: care and follow-up of the most complex outpatients from each area, from Monday to Friday.
Accident and Emergency: care by a Digestive System specialist available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Crohn’s Colitis Unit: provides social healthcare and control of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, both face-to-face and digitally. It is part of a comprehensive care plan for patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, with a particular focus on the changes they may undergo biologically, psychologically and socially. Its role as coordinating centre of the National Network of Crohn’s Colitis Care Units is directed by two medical specialists, a nurse and a research coordinator.
Motility Unit: helps patients with digestive disorders via a functional hospitalisation unit and the Functional Test Laboratory, where diagnostic tests and treatments are performed for patients with digestive conditions. This Unit enjoys a high level of national and international prestige and conducts studies of intestinal function both in terms of motility and malabsorption. This unit is part of the European Centre for Gastrointestinal Motility.
Bleed Unit: this Unit deals with patients with severe digestive haemorrhaging and has 4 semi critical beds for the treatment and diagnosis of acute (high, low or hidden) digestive bleeding. Admission is indicated in cases of severe digestive haemorrhage requiring continuous monitoring and which may therefore not be treated on a conventional ward. Direct patient care is the responsibility of the medical staff assigned to the Bleed Unit and they coordinate the participation of the rest of the team necessary who come from the following units: Digestive Endoscopy Unit, Anaesthesia Department, A&E Department, Surgery Department, Diagnostic Imaging Unit and Interventional Angioradiology Unit.
The Pancreatic Unit: addresses a high number of patients with acute pancreatitis, recurrent pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis (200 patients), as well as patients with adult cystic fibrosis (160 patients) and patients suffering from pancreatic cystic lesions.
The Digestive System Department’s teaching activity includes a degree at the UAB and the training of specialists in the Digestive System as part of the medical residents programme. The Department also participates in continuing education programmes for internal and external residents from the European Training Centre of the European Board of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
The Digestive System Department carries out significant research as part of the Physiology and Digestive Physiopathology Research Group of the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute, and as part of the Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Neurogastroenterology Division of CIBERehd. We are also recognised by the Catalan Government’s AGAUR programme.
Care by a Digestive System specialist is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
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.
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.
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.