We use domiciliary ventilation to give patients a non-invasive way of helping them to sleep at home.

Patients with respiratory conditions can develop under-breathing whilst they sleep. This is associated with high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, known as nocturnal hypoventilation. Domiciliary ventilation helps to support their lungs as they sleep.

Our specialist team at Royal Brompton Hospital have pioneered this form of treatment, and we are the largest centre in Europe that provides this. We have over 1,600 adult and child patients who have small, portable ventilators at home.

The team have found that this therapy works well for patients with conditions like COPD and cystic fibrosis. It can also help those with a curvature of the spine and neuromuscular disorders. Patients have found that it has improved their quality of life, stopped unnecessary hospital visits and considerably extend their life expectancy.

Sleep apnoea is caused by upper airway collapse during sleep; patients literally stop breathing, although for such a short amount of time that they don’t usually wake up.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) is a term that covers a range of progressive lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and refractory asthma. 

Our Trust is a leading centre in the care of children and adults with cystic fibrosis (CF). Our paediatric CF clinic offers a team approach to all children and their families.

Improving patients' lives

This therapy allows patients to have ventilation at home without medical assistance. The ventilators are small and portable, so they don't impact on patients' lives.

A few examples of this include:

  • a travel writer who traveled across India with his ventilator

  • a student who spent time in Ecuador studying mountain ranges and climatology

  • patients studying away from home at university

  • patients who have had babies

The possibilities for patients using these ventilators is exciting. The team are now looking into new types of ventilators. They are keen to see how easier to use ventilators could help those with neuromuscular disorders.

Our sleep centres

We have been diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in adults for over 20 years. Our service has developed into designated sleep centres at both our hospitals. We also have a children's sleep and ventilation unit where we carry out sleep studies for children.

Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) at Harefield Hospital

Lead consultant

Dr Amanda Natanek 
Tel: +44(0)1895 828 690

Respiratory nurse specialist

Sharyl James (bleep 6420 via switchboard)

Sleep administrator

Tel: +44(0)1895 828 589