Skip to main content
Locations and phones

Call center 93 253 21 00

Monday to Sunday, from 8 am to 8:30 pm

Scheduling or change of appointment +34 93 253 21 00

Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 7 pm

Private Care - International Patients +34 93 600 97 83

Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 7 pm

SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital

Passeig Sant Joan de Déu, 2, 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat

How to arrive

Language -

A 15-year-old boy, one of the first pediatric patients to undergo robotic heart surgery

Iu, a patient at the Congenital Cardiopathy Centre Barcelona, attending a check-up at the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital

Iu was able to have this minimally invasive surgical technique thanks to a strategic alliance between the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital and Hospital Clínic Barcelona.

Iu never suspected that he had been born with a heart malformation. He and his family discovered it when, during a routine check-up at 15 years old, his pediatrician listened to his heart and heard a murmur. ‘The pediatrician advised us to see a cardiologist, who, after examining Iu, diagnosed him with an atrial septal defect, which is an opening in the wall that separates the chambers of the heart, or the atria, and that he needed surgery,’ recounts the boy's father, Llibert.

Iu was referred to the SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital's Heart Unit in September 2023, and just a few weeks later, he had surgery. At the time, the cardiology team decided that the best way to repair the defect was through catheterisation. They inserted a catheter into the boy's groin, guiding it up to the heart, and, once there, they fitted a small device between the two heart chambers to close the opening.

The operation was a complete success and Iu was able to return home the next day. Everything was going well, with Iu attending regular check-ups, when he came down with an infection. The father recalls that ‘it was Christmas. On New Year's Day he started to get a fever. Since it kept getting worse and worse, and he had a terrible time that night, the next day we took him to the Valldoreix primary care facility. The staff there put things in motion immediately to transfer him to the Mútua de Terrassa in an ambulance, and from there to the Parc Taulí de Sabadell ICU. Iu had a bacterial infection that had brought on sepsis.’

At Parc Taulí, he was given antibiotic therapy to control the infection and the team got in touch with the SJD Cardiology Department. The bacterial infection was affecting both his heart and the implant between the heart chambers, and he needed another operation to replace the implanted device with a new one. Both teams agreed to transfer the patient for surgery, and 48 hours later, Iu went into theatre.

At the time, the SJD had already been working with Hospital Clínic to create the SJD-Clínic Congenital Cardiopathy Centre, which facilitates ongoing care to people at all stages of life, and in particular, to children who are born with a congenital heart issue. This alliance has allowed us to offer certain procedures to the pediatric population, procedures which, for the longest time, had only been carried out on adults, such is the case with robotic surgery.

Iu was one of the first patients to benefit from this minimally invasive surgical method. When the medical team suggested this option, neither he nor his family hesitated. The boy notes, ‘One of my younger brothers had heart surgery when he was very little, just a few hours after he was born, and he was left with a huge scar on his chest. I didn't want to have one, too.’ ‘The difference is monumental,’ adds his father. ‘The operation they did on Iu is much less aggressive, recovery has been much faster and esthetically-speaking, there has been much less of an impact. You can hardly see Iu's scar.’

Iu was transferred to Hospital Clínic on 18 January, one of the two branches of the new Congenital Cardiopathy Centre Barcelona, which housed the robot needed to perform this type of procedure. He had his operation and, after a short time in the intensive care unit, he was transferred to SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital, where he remained until discharge. Now he can live his life without limits. ‘A few weeks ago I started playing football again,’ he explains.