The Rheumatology Section is a clinical care section that is integrated under the Internal Medicine Department. The musculoskeletal system consists of a person’s bones, muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. It is a highly structured system whose purpose is to move and support the rest of the body's structures.
Rheumatology deals with disorders and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. It is a very wide-reaching specialty that covers almost 200 diseases.
Portfolio of services
At the Rheumatology Section, we aim to offer specialised quality care to patients with musculoskeletal system diseases, both in adults and children.
We have extensive, recognised experience in the care of patients with chronic inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
We also provide highly qualified care in the treatment and pregnancy of such patients, in collaboration with the Obstetrics Department, with the aim of making pregnancy and childbirth possible, guaranteeing the safety of mother and baby, without aggravating the arthritis.
For patients with chronic inflammatory arthritis, we offer quality care adapted to their needs, with a team of professionals who are experts in the latest biotechnology medicines, both in the day hospital and in specific outpatient clinics. We adapt as much as we can to avoid loss of working days for patients, and to offer the highest level of excellence in healthcare conditions.
The Paediatric Rheumatology Division has always been a reference centre in our Section. We have a close relationship with the Paediatrics Department and we provide care for paediatric patients from all over the country with rheumatic diseases, such as chronic inflammatory joint diseases, systemic autoimmune diseases or self-inflammatory syndromes.
The Expertise in Central Sensitisation Syndromes Unit consists of two lines of care, one for fibromyalgia and one for chronic fatigue syndrome. This Unit’s mission is to lead the way in the central sensitisation syndromes (CSS) for patients, patient associations and health professionals. We have a long history in this field, and we are a centre of reference in both diseases (note: place EU CSS link here).
Rheumatology is a medical speciality that requires specialist professionals who can perform specific techniques in order to provide comprehensive care for patients. To this end, we are a centre of reference in musculoskeletal ultrasounds, both in adults and paediatric patients.
At the Rheumatology Section, we have professionals who are highly specialised in the treatment of metabolic bone pathologies, such as osteoporosis. We provide care for patients who have undergone lung transplants in order to avoid or treat bone complications deriving from either lung disease or immunosuppressive treatments. We also work side by side with the Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology Department to provide comprehensive solutions for patients with osteoporotic fractures.
Within our region, we prioritise patient care continuity and establish close collaborations in the field of primary care. We are also pioneers in a number of pathologies, and we are establishing fast-stream referrals for patients with urgent or priority conditions.
At the Rheumatology Section, we are responsible for significant, high-quality research, mainly in the area of rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and other immunomediated diseases.
Our research is specifically aimed at the identification of biomarkers and new therapeutic targets that will allow us to offer more personalised care and, ultimately, cure these diseases. We are highly specialised in the area of the latest high-performance technologies, such as genomics, transcriptomics and metabolomics.
The results of our research have been published in prestigious reviews, proof of the dissemination and quality of our discoveries. We are also a reference centre in clinical trials in collaboration with the Clinical Research Support Unit of the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute.
The Rheumatology Section is a teaching unit that is officially authorised for the training of medical interns in Rheumatology. One of our priority objectives is to attract and train talented doctors in order to use the knowledge we have gained to benefit society and train highly qualified professionals who are able to face the challenges of medicine in the future, which will focus on "personalised" and "precision medicine". Our residents carry out extended visits to internationally renowned centres in both Europe and the United States.
At the Rheumatology Section, we carry out extensive teaching activity, both in continuous education within the department itself, and in the organisation of seminars and courses aimed at professionals from other hospitals and other medical specialities. One of our objectives is to enhance the health workshops aimed at patients.
We offer theoretical and practical classes in Rheumatology to medical students from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. We are a centre of national and international reference, with a very high number of requests for internships, especially in the area of paediatric rheumatology, rheumatoid arthritis, and musculoskeletal ultrasounds.
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.
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.