Annual report 2021

2021 was a year in which the UZ Leuven employees really realised our vision to break ground together. Through passion, collaboration and expertise we managed to combine the battle against COVID-19 with regular care that started to increase again. On top of that, the past year saw quite a number of other realisations and innovations.

Key figures | Most important news | Management

Most important news of 2021

New technique helps detect large-scale genetic variations in leukaemia

22 December 2021
The Leuven centre for human genetics is one of the first genetic centres in the world that applies a new genetic test. The technique is called ‘optical genome mapping’ and can detect large genetic variations on chromosome level. Today, the test is already being used for diagnosing leukaemia.

Volunteer Michaël talks about his work in Benin

23 November 2021
LUMOS is the volunteer organisation and driving force behind the medical development cooperation between UZ Leuven and its partner hospitals in Africa. Volunteer Michaël Verwimp testifies: "The assignment was one big adventure."

Pioneer accessible healthcare passed away

22 November 2021
On Saturday 20 November 2021 prof. dr. Jan Peers (82) passed away in Leuven. He was one the country's pioneers of our current healthcare system.

Photon-counting CT scanner is a real 'quantum leap': sharper images and reduced radiation dose.

18 November 2021
UZ Leuven is one of the twenty five hospitals worldwide to have a photon-counting CT-scanner. Unlike classic CT devices, this new scanner analyses every photon that is put through the body. The result: sharper images and a lower radiation dose, with a never seen before eye for detail.

Study sheds new light on cause of loss of smell in COVID-19

10 November 2021
Loss of smell is a common symptom of COVID-19. Flemish doctors have taken tissue samples of deceased COVID-19 patients and have discovered that the virus infects the supporting cells of the olfactory mucosa, but not the nerve cells with the odorant receptors. The olfactory bulb in the brain was also spared.

UZ Leuven the first Flemish NIDCAP training institute for neonatal care

11 October 2021
At the end of September the UZ Leuven department of neonatology was officially named the first NIDCAP-training centre in Flanders. In future, nurses, midwives, neonatologists or home carers will be able to follow UZ Leuven courses to improve the care for premature babies.

Premature babies also benefit from breast milk

4 October 2021
For the fourth time in a row, UZ Leuven has been awarded the BFHI label, a label for hospitals that commit to breastfeeding in a scientifically substantiated manner. For UZ Leuven, one principle is at the heart of this: breast milk is for every newborn the first and best choice.

Preventive radiotherapy makes high-risk prostate cancer more curable

25 August 2021
For prostate cancer patients with a high risk of of lymph node metastases in the pelvis, preventive radiation therapy of these lymph nodes will increase the chance of being definitely cured. A multidisciplinary UZ Leuven team led an international trial.

Vesalius project gives new meaning to pathology institute and anatomical theatre

21 June 2021
In 2025, KU Leuven and UZ Leuven will be opening a new public experience centre on the Hertogen site in Leuven. The Vesalius project will be dedicated to scientific research, care and society. The university will be restoring two historic buildings to house the project.

Fetal surgery for severe congenital diaphragmatic hernia saves lives

8 June 2021
An international research team led by the University Hospitals Leuven and the KU Leuven has completed a randomized clinical trial on surgery before birth in fetuses with a severe form of congenital diaphragmatic hernia. The researchers provide evidence that surgery before birth improves the chances of survival.

Leuven cardiac specialists first to replace mitral valve without surgery

7 June 2021
For the first time in Belgium, a team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons have replaced a mitral heart valve by a prosthetic valve in a minimally invasive way. Until recently this was only possible with cardiac surgery and the use of a heart-lung machine for which not all patients qualify.

Ophthalmologists, biologists and engineers wage war on Alzheimer's

26 May 2021
Researchers at UZ Leuven, KU Leuven, VITO and imec have published promising results on the use of a hyperspectral camera to detect protein plaques in the eyes of Alzheimer's patients.

Single-cell technique paves the way for biomarker breast cancer immunotherapy

6 May 2021
Leuven researchers found a way of predicting whether immunotherapy will catch on in patients with early-stage breast cancer. The tumour tissue of 40 patients was examined before and after a first treatment with anti-PD1 immunotherapy. 1 in 3 patients showed a response.

Young patients turn into artists during corona times

30 April 2021
In April 2020 the children's hospital launched the #kunstuitmijnkamer project (art from my room). More than 100 children took the chance to express their feelings, thoughts and imagination during corona times on a canvas. Their attractive creations are now being exhibited in the hospital and online.

Heart transplant with new preservation technique for first Belgian patient

17 February 2021
Last autumn UZ Leuven was the first to perform a heart transplant in Belgium with the help of a new preservation technique. Thanks to this technique a donor heart can be preserved for almost five times as long.

Leuven study shows immune reaction in the lungs of seriously ill COVID-19 patients

21 January 2021
UZ Leuven, KU Leuven researchers and the VIB have examined the immune reaction in COVID-19 patients in the hospital. Analyses of the lung fluid showed new factors that play a role in the excessive immune reactions against the virus, which are crucial for the development of treatments.

Scientists reveal mechanism that causes irritable bowel syndrome

13 January 2021
KU Leuven researchers have identified the biological mechanism that explains why some people experience abdominal pain when they eat certain foods. The finding paves the way for more efficient treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and other food intolerances.

Medicine students follow surgery through the surgeon's eyes thanks to smart glasses

11 January 2021
Following a bypass-heart operation from the surgeon's perspective: it was a first for a few KU Leuven master students medicine. With the help of smart glasses – camera glasses – the operation was live streamed for the students at home.
Last edit: 14 March 2022