IRCCS ISMETT celebrates its first 20 years with expansion of facility

They have been 20 years of great success and recognition for ISMETT, which prepares to face a future of new challenges and goals with the most innovative highly specialized therapies. The new cardiac and pediatric surgery spaces to be inaugurated.

1997-2017: IRCCS-ISMETT (the Mediterranean Institute for Transplantation and Advanced Specialized Therapies) celebrates 20 years of success and does it with the expansion of the facility to offer more services, increase the number of beds, and maximize health care efficiency. Twenty years have passed since IRCCS-ISMETT was created in 1997 as a result of a partnership between the Region of Sicily and UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center).

Over these first two decades, ISMETT has become a center of excellence in the field of transplantation, and a reference hospital for the entire Mediterranean area. In 2014, it was accredited as an IRCCS, Istituto di Ricerca e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, thus becoming a state-accredited research hospital. Today ISMETT is the first Italian hospital dedicated entirely to all solid organ (liver, kidney, heart, lung, pancreas) transplants.

The numbers regarding transplants speak very clearly: since the first liver transplant in Sicily (1999), more than 1,900 transplants have been performed, of which 207 on pediatric patients. More than 300 were living-related kidney or liver transplants. The number of hospital beds has increased to 114 from 20 when IRCCS-ISMETT first opened.

Every year, a third of the patients are admitted under urgent conditions, about 18% are referred from other hospitals, 4.5% arrive from other regions, and 1.5% are international patients.

“ISMETT is a hospital for acute patients and 21% of our beds are in the intensive care unit, which offers highly specialized treatments and promotes innovation and research, and where new organizational and management models have always been experimented,” says Angelo Luca, Director of ISMETT. “ISMETT is fully integrated in Sicily’s regional health system network and is a center of international reference for many countries in the Mediterranean area, and beyond. Since 1999 we have invested in ICT, we developed a telemedicine system connected to Pittsburgh and with the local community, and we implemented a system of Business Intelligence that enables us to increase the efficiency and quality of patient care. We have developed 46 in-house applications, the last of which was patented and received the 2017 Award for Digital Innovation in Health Care from Politecnico in Milan.”



To further improve the health care services offered to ISMETT patients, new spaces were inaugurated today realized thanks to a 2007-2013 PO FESR project for a total cost of 17.5 million Euros, of which approximately 6.5 million Euros of regional co-funding, and 400,000 Euros of ISMETT balance funds.

The construction work started in 2012. The general project was divided in three independent lots. The three lots, even if autonomous, integrate completely, creating one very functional and harmonious complex.

Also, Lot #4 only involves highly specialized medical equipment and, more specifically, an advanced vital sign monitoring system and a digital device for telepathology and other equipment. To connect the new spaces with the main building, a futuristic overhead bridge has been built to allow the transit of patients, stretchers, and staff.

The south wing will host the new area dedicated to the pediatric abdominal surgery activity. The new Pediatrics Department has 10 large single patient rooms, a day hospital and an outpatient clinic, two playrooms (one for inpatients and one for OPC patients), a medication room, in addition to offices and general services. The north wing will host 23 adult patient beds (11 double rooms, and 1 single room), a lounge, a medication room, and offices and general services.

“This has been a race against time due to the extremely tight deadlines of the European Community funding,” Dr. Luca said. “I want to express my gratitude to all health care providers of ISMETT and UPMC, and to the officers of the Health Assessorato who in these months worked side by side in synergy and with great commitment. Today is an important day for patients, for the regional and national institutions, and for all health care providers at ISMETT who every day are committed to guarantee quality care to our patients.”