Our goals are to improve the health and quality of life of children with neurological diseases and offer comprehensive care through collaboration across multidisciplinary teams. Thanks to the implementation of new diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, we can advance our knowledge of molecular causes of, and develop new treatment strategies for, early onset neurological diseases.
Paediatric Neurology offers comprehensive care for children with neurological disorders, from common problems such as headaches or neurological follow-ups of at-risk new-borns to complex, heterogeneous and rare illnesses that are difficult to diagnose, such as neuromuscular diseases, epileptic encephalopathies and neurometabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.
The work carried out by this Section in the fields of research and teaching is especially important, and we participate in national and international networks, working groups and various patient associations. The Section is accredited as a Spanish Reference Centre (CSUR) in ataxia and paraparesis, neuromuscular diseases and metabolic diseases, and is a European Reference Network centre (ERN) for rare neurological diseases, neuromuscular diseases and metabolic diseases.
Quality care requires early diagnosis, treatments that are suitable and specific to each patient and support for the emotional and social aspects of the child and his or her close relatives. In addition to the different healthcare professionals (from neuropaediatrics, pneumology, rehabilitation, traumatology, cardiology, nutrition and gastroenterology, nephrology and urology, among others), our multidisciplinary teams include nursing staff, physiotherapists, speech therapists and psychologists, to make sure we are able to carry out this work effectively. We also rely on the indispensable collaboration of highly qualified professionals from the Paediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Units and Accident and Emergency Department for complications that often affect those with neurological diseases. These professionals, alongside those from the Palliative Care Unit, are highly experienced in the fields of neuroradiology, clinical neurophysiology and neuropathology.
Finally, all the staff members take part in different weekly clinical sessions (general paediatric neurology, neuroradiology and epilepsy sessions), monthly sessions (neuromuscular, metabolic and genetic diseases), as well as multidisciplinary meetings and committees aimed at reaching consensus and optimising the oversight and treatment of patients.
In the area of neurometabolic diseases, we collaborate in the neonatal screening programme for the detection of 23 different diseases, which has allowed us to increase our knowledge in the natural history of these diseases, mainly in lysosomal diseases.
Both basic and clinical research are essential, and they represent a significant portion of this Section's activity. The group's researchers have set up the Paediatric Neurology Research Group, which develops clinical research in hospitals and basic research, applied to the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). Since 2009, it has been a member of the Consolidated Research Group for the University and Research Grant Management Agency (AGAUR).
Teaching activity in our Section includes undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education of professionals in the different areas of our specialty. Our Section constantly hosts paediatric and neurological residents from the HUVH and other hospitals in Catalonia, the rest of Spain and the EU as well as South America.
We should also highlight our organisation of a master's programme in Paediatric Neurology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, one of just two on-site master’s programmes in the sub-specialty in Spain. We also organise an annual refresher course in Paediatric Neurology and help coordinate the Master's Degree in Translational Biomedical Research at the VHIR.
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.
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.