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Professor Anita Simonds

Dr Anita Simonds in close up

Consultant in respiratory and sleep medicine

Professor of respiratory and
sleep medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London



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

Areas of expertise

Professor Simonds' areas of expertise include: 

  • diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders
  • obstructive sleep apnoea
  • management of respiratory failure


She is responsible for managing the sleep and ventilation service at Royal Brompton Hospital. This also includes the innovative sleep centre, based at Royal Brompton.

Professor Simonds has extensive experience in using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy in adults and children with obstructive sleep apnoea. She also uses this for other sleep disorders, such as: 


  • intrinsic sleep problems
  • restless leg syndrome
  • narcolepsy
  • circadia disorders
  • parasomnias


Currently there are over 7000 patients receiving CPAP therapy from the department. She also has 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
    • scoliosis assessment
  • providing oxygen therapy 
  • pulmonary rehabilitation
  • palliative care for individuals with chronic lung disease

Professor Simonds has written on the ethical aspects of duty of care, managing children with end stage neuromuscular disease, such as type 1 spinal muscular atrophy. Her clinical care team care for 1600 adults and children who receive home ventilation. 

Research interests

Professor Simonds' research includes: 

  • examining droplet dispersion around NIV, oxygen and nebuliser therapy in pandemic flu and other airborne diseases (DH NIHR pandemic flu grant)
  • assessing the effects of obstructive sleep aponea on cognitive function
  • examining innovative models of ventilation such as: 
    • autotitrating non-invasive ventilation
    • adaptive servo ventilation in patients with heart failure


She is currently carrying out a trial of telemonitoring in heart and lung failure. This is NIHR CLAHRC-funded, and is a randomised controlled trial. She is also developing an 'intelligent' oxygen delivery system with Imperial College's bioengineering department. 

Watch Professor Simonds and Professor Mary Morrell talk about the Trust's research into sleep and ventilation. 

International experience and teaching 

From 2011-2014, Professor Simonds was chair of the European School of Respiratory Medicine/Education section of the European Respiratory Society (ERS). She edited the ERS' 'Handbook of Respiratory Medicine' and 'Handbook of Respiratory Sleep Medicine'. These textbooks are essential for the syllabuses they're related to. In 2015, she was appointed as chief editor of the ERJ Open Research - an online, open-access journal created by the ERS. She developed the European curriculum for respiratory sleep and critical care medicine training (Hermes programmes). 

Professor Simonds organises and speaks at European and US courses on NIV, as well as the ERS postgraduate course on NIV. She has had various teaching and speaking opportunities in her career. 


  • member of the Consensus Conference on Standards of Care in Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Congenital Muscular Dystrophy
  • formulated guidelines for the management of children with congenital myasthenia syndromes


  • member of the British Thoracic Society's guideline group for respiratory care of children with neuromuscular disease


  • taught on postgraduate courses at the American Thoracic Society Congress, Philadelphia


  • taught at the Gulf Thoracic Congress, Dubai
  • keynote speaker at the Malaysian Thoracic Society Congress

She has taught UK and international students, supervised four PhD students and often trains ERS 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 has written - in some form - many books, such as: 

  • Non-Invasive Respiratory Support (third edition 2007 Hodder Arnold)
  • Non-Invasive Ventilation (second edition 2009 ERS publications) with J-F Muir and N Ambrosino
  • co-editing the ERS Handbook of Respiratory Medicine (2nd edition 2013)
  • co-editing the ERS Handbook of Respiratory Sleep Medicine (2012)


Read the BBC's profile of Anita Simonds.

Visit the sleep & ventilation page.

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