Bellvitge Hospital performs its 4,000th kidney transplant


Bellvitge University Hospital carried out its 4,000th kidney transplant yesterday afternoon. This milestone comes at a very important moment in this activity, as the centre has been the leader in adult kidney transplants in Spain for three years in a row and because in 2022 it has broken new records, performing more than 30 kidney transplants this November and more than 200 so far this year

This success is the result of a joint effort led by the Nephrology, Urology, Transplant Coordination, Anaesthesiology and Resuscitation services and specialised nursing professionals, in collaboration with the rest of the hospital's services and professionals.

We would also like to thank and highlight the solidarity of donors and their families, without whom it would have been impossible to maintain such an important programme and reach the figures that have been achieved in Bellvitge.

Those responsible for the kidney transplant programme at Bellvitge Hospital mark the involvement and collaboration of all the hospital's professionals as key, as well as the experience gained in complex renal transplant surgery and in the implementation of technical innovations such as robotic surgery.

Moreover, the complexity of these transplants lies not only in the surgical techniques, but also in addressing challenges such as immunological ones. In this sense, special prioritisation programmes have been created, such as the PATHI or HIPERCAT programmes, for those patients whose immunological characteristics make it difficult to find a suitable donor.

Another major challenge currently facing professionals is the fragility of transplant patients, as their average age is progressively increasing. This means that, after the operation, patients need closer monitoring and very tight management of immunosuppression.

Another key factor in this success, say the programme's specialists, has been the coordination between Bellvitge Hospital and the other health institutions in its area of influence, which covers almost two million inhabitants. In this sense, in recent years the Bellvitge nephrologists have worked closely with those of the other nephrology and dialysis units from the territory to ensure the access of the entire population to transplantation as the optimal treatment for kidney failure.

The renal transplant programme at Bellvitge Hospital took off in 1978 thanks to the initiative and drive of the teams led by Dr Jeroni Alsina and Dr Narcís Serrallach. Since then, it has been at the forefront of all the advances and innovations that have taken place, being one of the latest the use of the surgical robot in these interventions.

The programme is currently led by Dr Josep M. Cruzado, head of the Nephrology Department, and Dr Francesc Vigués, head of the Urology Department. Some notable milestones in recent years have been the performance of the world's first orthotopic kidney transplant with robotic surgery, as well as the performance of living donor transplants with blood incompatibility, thanks to the introduction of apheresis techniques (separation of blood components) and specific protocols that allow these interventions to be carried out with greater safety.