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Professor Anita Simonds

Dr Anita Simonds in close up

Professor of respiratory and
sleep medicine


Anita Simonds is a consultant in respiratory and sleep medicine and professor of respiratory and sleep medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London.

Specialist expertise

Professor Simonds has particular expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnoea and the management of respiratory failure. 

She is responsible for managing the sleep and ventilation service at Royal Brompton and in 2013, the team opened the innovative new Royal Brompton Centre for Sleep in South Parade, SW3. 

Professor  Simonds has wide experience in the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy in adults and children with obstructive sleep apnoea, plus application of a range of other treatments for sleep disorders, including intrinsic sleep problems such as restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, circadian disorders and parasomnias. Currently 7000 patients receive CPAP therapy under the care of the dept.


Professor Simonds has additional expertise in acute and chronic non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in adults and children, weaning, respiratory aspects of neuromuscular disease including muscular dystrophies, spinal muscular atrophy, motor neurone disease and scoliosis assessment. 

Her experience includes providing oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and palliative care for individuals with chronic lung disease. She has written on the ethical aspects of duty of care, and the management of children with end stage neuromuscular disease such as type 1 spinal muscular atrophy. Her clinical team care for 1600 adults and children receiving home ventilation.

Recent research projects 

Recent research has examined droplet dispersion around non-invasive ventilation, oxygen and nebuliser therapy in pandemic flu and other airborne disease (DH NIHR pandemic flu grant), assessed the effects of obstructive sleep apnoea on cognitive function, and examined innovative modes of ventilation including autotitrating non-invasive ventilation, and adaptive servo ventilation in patients with heart failure. 

She is currently carrying out an NIHR CLAHRC-funded randomised controlled trial of telemonitoring in heart and lung failure, and is developing an ‘intelligent’ oxygen delivery system in a joint project with the bioengineering department, Imperial College London.

Research into sleep and ventilation 

Watch Dr Simonds and Professor Mary Morrell talk about the research into sleep and ventilation that is being carried out at the Trust.

International experience

Professor Simonds is chair of the European School of Respiratory Medicine / Education section of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) 2011-2014, has edited the ERS Handbook of Respiratory Medicine and Handbook of Respiratory Sleep Medicine, which are the textbooks of those syllabuses. In 2015, she was appointed chief editor of ERJ Open Research – an online-only, open-access journal launched by the ERS. She is responsible for developing the curriculae for training in respiratory sleep medicine and respiratory critical care medicine in Europe (Hermes programmes).

She is the organiser and speaker at European and US courses and symposia on NIV, including European Respiratory Society Postgraduate Courses on NIV. She was a member of the Consensus Conference on Standards of Care in Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Congenital Muscular Dystrophy in 2010, and has formulated guidelines for the management of children with congenital myasthenia syndromes 2010, and is a member of British Thoracic Society guideline group for respiratory care of children with neuromuscular disease 2012. She has taught on postgraduate courses at the American Thoracic Society Congress, Philadelphia 2013 and Gulf Thoracic Congress, Dubai, 2014 and is a keynote speaker at the Malaysian Thoracic Society Congress 2014.


Professor Simonds additionally carries out extensive teaching of overseas and UK students, supervises four PhD students and regularly trains European Respiratory Society fellows.

Recent publications

  • Chatwin M, Bush A, Macrae DJ, Clarke SA, Simonds AK. 2013, Risk management protocol for gastrostomy and jejunostomy insertion in ventilator dependent infants., Neuromuscul Disord, Vol:23, 0960-8966, Pages:289-297. 


  • Simonds AK, 2013, Palliating breathlessness in patients with advanced cancer., Lancet Oncol, Vol:14, 1470-2045, Pages:181-182. 


  • Hull J, Aniapravan R, Chan E, Chatwin M, Forton J, Gallagher J, Gibson N, Gordon J, Hughes I, McCulloch R, Russell RR, Simonds A.  2012, British Thoracic Society guideline for respiratory management of children with neuromuscular weakness, Thorax, Vol:67, ISSN:0040-6376, Pages:1-40. 


  • Artigas A, Pelosi P, Dellweg D, Brochard L, Ferrer M, Geiseler J, Larsson A, Nava S, Navalesi P, Noel J-L, Orfanos S, Palange P, Schoenhofer B, Vassilakopoulos T, Simonds A 2012, Respiratory critical care HERMES syllabus: defining competencies for respiratory doctors, European Respiratory Journal, Vol:39, ISSN:0903-1936, Pages:1294-1297. 



Professor Simonds is author of Non-Invasive Respiratory Support  (third edition 2007 Hodder Arnold) and co-author of Non-Invasive Ventilation (second edition due 2009 ERS publications) with J-F Muir and N Ambrosino, and co-editor of the ERS Handbook of Respiratory Medicine  2nd edition (2013) and ERS Handbook of Respiratory Sleep Medicine 2012.

Read the BBC's profile of Anita Simonds.

Visit the sleep & ventilation page.

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