The adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) unit at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust is one of the first and largest facilities of its kind in Europe.
Our experts see more than 7,000 adults with congenital heart disease - the largest number in the UK. More than 70 per cent of new patients in ACHD clinics transition from the Trust's paediatric CHD service.
The adult programme encompasses a national and international tertiary referral centre providing highly specialised care for adolescents and adults with congenital heart disease.
Services and facilities
The ACHD unit has its own designated inpatient facility within Paul Wood ward with specific provision for adolescents and young adults. This is in the context of a wider cardiology and cardiothoracic facility with state-of-the-art catheter laboratories, non-invasive investigative procedures and highly-specialised support services.
Specialist echocardiography, cardiac physiology, electrophysiology, cardiac CT and cardiac MRI are all available on site.
The centre provides sub-specialist outpatient and inpatient care for:
- ACHD intervention
- heart failure
- transitional care
- pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Obstetric and gyncaecology care for patients with congenital heart disease is provided jointly with the high-risk maternity team from Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.
The centre is at the forefront of ACHD intervention with an extensive catheter lab programm,e including percutaneous pulmonary and aortic valve replacement.
The ACHD unit serves as a major research facility for congenital heart disease and cardiac surgery. The unit provides national and international specialised training for cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and allied disciplines.
Specialist international clinical fellows are an integral part of the unit and contribute to the worldwide reputation of the organisation.
National and international meetings in the field – coordinated from Royal Brompton and the National Heart & Lung Institute– are an integral part of the programme's academic curriculum.
- Advanced ACHD heart failure and transplantation clinics run jointly with the transplant team
- Risk stratification service for serious arrhythmias, run by the ACHD, MRI and electrophysiology teams
- The ACHD-PH network and specialist Eisenmenger clinics
- International preceptorships for overseas consultants to learn about ACHD-PH
The team includes:
- seven full-time specialist consultants (five ACHD cardiologists and two pulmonary arterial hypertension specialists)
- an academic consultant in cardiac ACHD MRI
- a consultant specialising in ACHD echocardiography
- five full-time congenital cardiac surgeons
- five clinical nurse specialists (including the transition team).
This is in addition to an extended group of other specialist imagers, anaesthetists, surgeons and electrophysiologists.
There are close clinical and academic ties with the paediatric cardiology department, providing seamless care from childhood to adulthood.
Professor Michael A Gatzoulis (academic lead)
Dr Lorna Swan (clinical lead)
Dr Kostos Dimopoulos (ACHD pulmonary hypertension)
Dr Rafa Alonso (inpatient care, heart failure and transplant)
Dr John Wort (pulmonary hypertension)
Dr Laura Price (pulmonary hypertension)
Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan (academic and ACHD MRI)
Dr Wei Li (consultant in echocardiography)
Mr Darryl F Shore (cardiac surgical lead)
Mr B Sethia (consultant cardiac surgeon)
Clinical nurse specialists
Carl Harries and Lisa Parfitt (pulmonary arterial hypertension)
Lesley Jones and Clare Finlay (ACHD)
Lynda Shaughnessy, Loredana Haidu and Virgnia Castro Meira (transition)
Patient education and empowerment are important components of the ACHD service. The clinical nurse practitioners coordinate education and patient involvement.
Advice and education covers lifestyle issues such as contraception, insurance, employment and sport. Patients and their families also find additional support from patient groups such as The Somerville Foundation.
Members of Royal Brompton Hospital's ACHD centre are sought-after conference speakers and contributors to the major literature in this emerging cardiovascular field. The team strives to share its learning with colleagues worldwide and has produced numerous highly regarded textbooks.
The unit was established in 1975 by Professor Somerville, one of the founders of the field of adult congenital heart disease (ACHD), at the National Heart Hospital.
In 1989 the unit (also known as the 'Grown-Up Congenital Heart' or GUCH Unit) relocated to Royal Brompton Hospital. Since then the unit has gone from strength to strength.