The Royal Brompton & Harefield brand features across a wide range of media channels each month. From fundraising sponsored walks to exciting new clinical procedures and research trials, our hospitals are celebrated for their ground-breaking work and commitment to patient care. Here are some examples from 2018-19.
Joint research by Royal Brompton, Imperial College London and MRC Institute of Medical Sciences that discovered a new link between alcohol, genes and heart failure was featured in the Daily Mail, The Sun and The i. Dr James Ware, consultant cardiologist and study author, explained: “Our research strongly suggests that alcohol and genetics are interacting – and genetic predisposition and alcohol consumption can act together to lead to heart failure.”
The Evening Standard featured a project to help some of Great Britain’s elite athletes achieve their potential in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, by reducing the impact of breathing problems on training and competition. Dr James Hull, consultant respiratory physician, explained that, given respiratory illness is the most prevalent health issue in athletes, the project is an opportunity to understand the issue and “help athletes remain fully available for training and competition.”
As the NHS celebrated its 70th anniversary on 5 July, patients, their families, staff and colleagues shared their experiences of our hospitals across broadcast media. A local GP, Dr Kumar, told the BBC: “Just three days ago there was a patient who complained of chest pain at 6:30pm. By 10pm he was in Royal Brompton having triple bypass surgery. Come on, you can’t get better than that!”
ITV News and the Mail on Sunday reported that bronchial thermoplasty, a treatment pioneered at Royal Brompton, was approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Bronchial thermoplasty uses a probe which emits heat and shrinks scarred, thickened lung tissue. This means the healthy parts of the lung can expand, which helps patients breathe more easily. Professor Pallav Shah, consultant respiratory physician, told the Mail on Sunday: “Clinicians are seeing incredible results; research has shown that bronchial thermoplasty can almost halve the number of severe asthma attacks and cut the average number of emergency hospitalisations in treated patients by over 80 per cent. Some of our patients had difficulty walking upstairs, and are now doing intensely physical things like rock-climbing.”
In a feature headlined ‘Pioneering implant that can revitalise failing hearts’, the Mail on Sunday reported that the first British patient to be fitted with a pioneering electronic device – at Harefield Hospital – is now 'able to walk around the local store with his daughter, a simple task that the extreme fatigue and breathlessness caused by his condition had left him unable to manage before.' Dr Rebecca Lane, consultant cardiologist, explained: "This device is for patients who have exhausted all other treatment options. A few months back, we would simply have had to tell them to accept a miserable life, often stuck in their homes. Now there is something which could help them feel better, to walk around, and perhaps live longer.”
A BBC Children in Need special episode of BBC Television’s Bargain Hunt featured a segment on Vocal Beats, a project which sees professional musicians visit the children’s ward for interactive sessions with young patients. Casualty actor Sunetra Sarker described Royal Brompton as providing "specialist care for children with serious heart and lung conditions,” adding that “beat boxing and singing are great activities for young patients with heart and lung conditions as they help to strengthen those parts of the body.”
The Mail on Sunday reported that thousands of patients who suffer from multiple life-threatening heart problems are to be offered ‘three-in-one’ surgery – three major procedures carried out during a single keyhole operation. The new technique was pioneered at the Trust, and patient Vivian Ellis was one of the first to undergo the pioneering heart procedure. In July, Mr Ellis was referred to cardiac surgeon Mr Toufan Bahrami, at Harefield Hospital. Mr Ellis said: “I was out of hospital in a week with very little pain and felt like I’d made a full recovery just two weeks afterwards.”
In a reflective piece, the BBC and Daily Mirror noted that 35 years ago, on 6 December 1983, the first successful heart and lung transplant operation in Britain took place at Harefield Hospital. Swedish journalist Lars Ljungberg received the organs and it took a team of 20 doctors and nurses more than five hours to carry out the operation, led by the ‘world-renowned surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub.’
The Daily Mail reported on the benefits of patients using virtual reality (VR) headsets to help distract from their pain. The piece cited research at Royal Brompton Hospital, where a study is planned in which patients due for major surgery will watch a VR film about the intensive care unit.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph under the headline ‘The healthy benefits of holding a tune’, Dr James Le Fanu, columnist and retired GP, wrote about the therapeutic benefit of singing. Dr Fanu acknowledged the launch of Singing for Breathing at Royal Brompton just over 10 years ago as: “…an alternative to conventional methods for improving lung function. Since then the idea has flourished and there are now more than 70 similar groups in hospitals across the country."