For the first time, Bellvitge University Hospital (HUB) has also topped the list in tissue donation in Catalonia.
In addition, it has become the second centre in Spain for controlled asystole heart transplants, with up to 7 operations.
Over the course of 2022, HUB performed 295 organ transplants in adults, 14% more than in 2021. There have been 224 kidney transplants, 51 liver transplants and 20 heart transplants. With these figures, the HUB has contributed significantly to the new global record of transplants in Catalonia reached in 2022: up to 1,346 (26.6% more than the previous year), which is a fourth of the transplants performed in Spain. On the other hand, for the first time Bellvitge Hospital has been the leader in tissue donation in Catalonia, with 351 donors.
These data consolidate Bellvitge Hospital as one of the leading and benchmark centres in the three main types of transplant: kidney, heart and liver. The HUB has been the leader in Catalonia in both the number of organs received from donors (224) and the percentage of these that have been successfully transplanted, that is 81%.
In the opinion of Dr Nicolás Manito, director of the Transplant Programme at Bellvitge Hospital, "once again the hospital shows its strength and leadership in donation and transplants thanks to its excellent multidisciplinary teams. In the year 2022 we have achieved the state record in kidney transplantation, the leadership in cardiac asystole donation as well as, and very importantly, the Catalan leadership in tissue donation. We are proud to be able to give life and hope to so many patients, and always grateful for the altruism and solidarity of so many donors and their families". The 224 kidney transplants performed at the HUB in 2022 represent an increase of 16% compared to 2021 and a real milestone in the most common type of transplant.
The HUB was the first hospital in Spain, along with Hospital Clínic, to carry out more than 200 kidney transplants in a single year. On the other hand, it has also increased the number of living donor transplants, up to 46, placing the HUB as the second centre in Spain in this field. Overall, the Catalan hospitals performed more than half of the living-donor kidney transplants (178) performed in Spain in 2022. The maintenance of leadership in kidney transplantation for the fourth year in a row is the result of the joint work and experience of the Nephrology, Urology, Anaesthesiology, Anatomical Pathology, Radiology and Transplant Coordination services, in addition to the nursing professionals. In 2021, the HUB performed the first heart transplant with a heart from a controlled asystole donor in Catalonia. Just one year later, another 7 controlled asystole heart transplants have been carried out at the centre, almost a third of the total.
As for liver transplantation, the HUB has increased by almost 25% in 2022 the number of interventions compared to the previous year, reaching 51 interventions. Throughout 2022, the Bellvitge Hospital Liver Transplant Programme has set up various training sessions in non-transplanting hospitals in its area of reference to disseminate the protocols for this transplant and the incorporation of new ex situ perfusion systems to recover organs that were initially discarded.
Nursing leads the increase in tissue donations
In 2022, for the first time, the HUB became the most active Catalan centre in terms of tissue donation, with up to 351 donors. Thanks to them, more than different 500 tissues (ocular, cutaneous, bone tendon, tendon, valve, vascular and live valves) have been obtained.
The tissue donation programme, led by the Transplant Coordination Nursing Team, has achieved this goal 4 years after starting the project with an innovative model involving interdisciplinary collaboration with other professionals at the HUB. The programme offers accompaniment and emotional support to the potential donor’s family in the end-of-life process. This has involved more than 500 telephone interviews and 70 face-to-face interviews. It should be noted that Bellvitge University Hospital is a pioneer in Spain in the donation of heart valves in vivo: patients who will receive a heart simultaneously can donate their valve tissue.