ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Advertiser retains sole responsibility for the content of this article

Setting the pace in health care

Severe acute pancreatitis can be lethal and has grave potential to cause complications, harming other vital organs. At the First Affiliated Hospital of Wenzhou Medical University (WMU), clinical faculty members have developed a comprehensive treatment system that reduces the mortality rate of this dangerous disease from 14.4% to 4.6%.

Credit: WMU

Led by Zhou Mengtao, the hospital’s president, the team has made several advances in the treatment of severe pancreatic diseases. By creating China’s first single-disease treatment centre specifically focusing on pancreatitis, they have innovated clinical care management model for pancreatitis, further reducing the mortality rate of severe acute pancreatitis to around 1%, much lower than the global average of 10-15%. Zhou’s breakthroughs in severe acute pancreatitis won him the first prize of China’s Medical Science and Technology Award in 2016.

Zhou’s team has also developed techniques to control pancreatic cancer, considered one of the deadliest among all cancers. Having developed a new method to suppress the transformation from pancreatitis to cancer and creating key therapeutic techniques that control the biological behaviour of pancreatic cancer, they have improved the curative effect of cancer treatment.

Zhou Mengtao, President, First Affiliated Hospital of WMUCredit: WMU

“As a hospital with a long history, we will build on our traditional strengths to innovate. By attracting global talent, we are striving to be a world-class institution in medical care, clinical research, technological innovation and teaching.”

Treatment of serious pancreatic diseases is just one of the specialisms of this quality tertiary hospital. Established in 1919, WMU First Affiliated Hospital is the main centre for diagnosis and treatment of complicated, serious diseases in Southern Zhejiang, providing medical services to 30 million people in the region. It also has strengths in cardiovascular intervention, hematopoietic stem cell transplants, reproductive medicine, respiratory disease, organ transplants and emergency care. It is ranked 66th in China’s top 100 hospital list and among the top three in Zhejiang, according to rankings by Asclepius Healthcare.

In 2011, the hospital was China’s first to develop a novel therapy called ‘permanent His-bundle pacing’, which improves cardiac function and lowers the risk of heart failure mortality associated with the conventional right ventricular pacing.

With these strengths, including 32 key disciplines, and housing two provincial key laboratories, the hospital has won 87 science and technology awards in the last five years. Its research advancement is also demonstrated by 125 National Natural Science Foundation of China grants, and 1,686 quality papers published in journals listed in the Science Citation Index (SCI).

The hospital had more than 4.4 million outpatient visits and 3,688 beds in use in 2017, the highest in Zhejiang. Its 5,500-plus staff performed 85,300 operations and treated 163,600 hospitalized patients. The hospital also has some of the most advanced medical equipment, such as the PET/CT, and a novel accelerator for radiotherapy. It is also the first base for medical air rescue in southern Zhejiang, having established a dedicated heliport and an air medical team. Embracing information technologies, the hospital also leads its domestic peers in digitalized management, streamlining its service provision.

Aiming to become a national medical centre, the hospital takes a socially responsible role. It provides support to several county hospitals, and frequently takes part in charitable medical activities, as well as disaster relief, and prevention and control in major public health emergencies.