[Skip to content]

Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
About the Trust
Search our Site



Providing a world-class service


Member of staff looking at blood moving through a machine


Royal Brompton & Harefield is one of Europe’s largest centres for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. We are internationally recognised as leaders in the development of minimally invasive therapy for coronary heart disease.


2007/08 highlights

  • A series of new appointments has strengthened cardiology services in the past year. Dr Wajid Hussain, consultant cardiologist, joined the Harefield electrophysiology team in October 2007, an appointment which has enabled the significant expansion of the service. Cardiac imaging at Harefield also continues to develop thanks to the appointment of Dr Shelley Rahman Haley who specialises in echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance.


  • Echo services at Harefield have also been strengthened by the acquisition of new 3D imaging equipment. Staff in the echo department will work with colleagues in cardiac surgery and transplantation to develop the clinical and research uses of these 3D techniques.


  • Harefield’s primary angioplasty centre continues to offer patients in outer north-west London a gold standard service. At the British Cardiovascular Society’s Annual Scientific Conference in June, consultant cardiologist Miles Dalby and colleagues presented new research to show the benefits of primary angioplasty for some heart attack patients.

    Dr Dalby and his colleagues compared patients who received primary angioplasty at Harefield to those who received traditional clot busting treatment (thrombolysis) in an A&E department. They found that patients who had been taken to Harefield and treated with angioplasty – in which a tube is passed into the heart and a small balloon inflated to open up blocked vessels – had significantly better outcomes than patients who had received thrombolysis.

“It was very reassuring to have the

  arrhythmia nurse specialist contact me

  before my first admission, visit me on

  the ward and contact me after admission. 

  She took away my fears and anxiety.”

  • At Royal Brompton, Dr Sabine Ernst joined the team in late 2007 as consultant cardiologist, honorary senior lecturer and lead for electrophysiology research.

    Dr Ernst is an internationally recognised expert in magnetic navigation and has overseen the introduction of a new magnetic navigation laboratory at Royal Brompton. The new system allows our consultants to carry out complex catheter-based procedures almost entirely by remote control, allowing greater accuracy and reducing radiation exposure for both staff and patients.

    The new lab is the most advanced of its kind in Europe and will benefit patients with complex congenital heart defects and arrhythmias. As well as advancing clinical practice in the UK, the new lab will allow experts at the Trust to pioneer important new research projects in 3D imaging and morphology, which should lead to the development of new invasive cardiac procedures to the ultimate benefit of patients internationally.

A doctor talking to a patient
  • During 2007, a major investment of almost £1m was made to upgrade one of Royal Brompton’s existing catheter laboratories. In November the lab opened with new state-of-the-art equipment improving our capacity to carry out electrophysiology and pacing procedures.


  • The pioneering LDL apheresis service for patients with familial hypercholesterolemia, a genetic defect which causes high levels of cholesterol, expanded this year. The Harefield-based service is now the largest of its kind in England. As part of a Department of Health study, the team is working to establish a genetic testing service for families of people with this condition.

Medical samples with tags in a row
  • In December, the Trust’s clinical practice committee approved the use of Impella left ventricular assist devices. Traditionally, heart pumps have been quite large and have had to be inserted through a cut in the chest. The Impella, however, is the world’s smallest heart pump and can be inserted through the groin.


  • This means it is far easier to implant and can provide support to the heart more quickly. Unlike traditional heart pumps, which are currently only used on a small number of very sick patients, the Impella can be used with angioplasty and heart surgery as a “bridge” to support the heart while waiting for further treatment, or in emergency situations.


  • Two patients have already benefited from the new devices and the programme, which is led by consultant invasive interventional cardiologist, Professor Carlo Di Mario, will continue to develop in the coming year.

  • Professor Michael Gatzoulis, consultant cardiologist and director of our adult congenital heart unit, was invited to Harvard University in June 2007 as a visiting Professor, reflecting the international reputation of our adult congenital heart team. During his time at Harvard, Professor Gatzoulis delivered the Distinguished Harvard University Fyler Annual Lecture in cardiology, discussed research opportunities with staff, took part in ward rounds, and ran teaching sessions for Harvard cardiology trainees.


  • In March, Professor Martin Cowie, consultant cardiologist, was appointed as a senior investigator by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). The Institute aims to support outstanding individuals who are conducting cutting-edge research. Professor Cowie was one of just 100 researchers selected and his five year appointment recognises the academic strength of the Trust’s heart failure team. Successful applicants were selected by an international panel of judges.


  • Our cardiologists have continued to share their expertise with colleagues around the world. Both Dr Michael Mullen and Professor Carlo Di Mario have performed procedures which were broadcast live to international conferences. Dr Mullen broadcast to the Synergy in Science conference in Seattle, Professor Di Mario to the Joint Interventional Meeting in Rome, and both to the American College of Cardiology Congress in Chicago.


  • The cardiology team has worked closely with the surgical directorate to develop the new percutaneous valve replacement programme.

Royal Brompton

Sydney Street,
London SW3 6NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121