Congenital heart disease

If you are an existing ACHD patient, find out more about recent changes

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the term used to describe heart conditions which are present from birth, or have been inherited.

Our adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) centre provides outstanding care for patients with CHD, not matter how complex. It was one of the first, and is now one of the largest, facilities of its kind in Europe and cares for more than 10,000 adults with congenital heart disease - the largest number in the UK. Because CHD is a lifelong disease, more than 70% of those patients have transferred from our  paediatric congenital heart disease service.  

Care for all ages

Here at Royal Brompton and Harefield, we take a vertical model approach to care, which means that from pre-birth and childhood to adulthod, all our CHD patients are cared for in the same place throughout their lives. This is possible because our congenital heart disease services are closely integrated and we can provide our teenage patients with a seamless, coordinated transfer to the ACHD centre. 

We also care for a number of patients with pulmonary hypertension.  

If you are the parent/carer of a child who will soon transition to adult care, find out more . If you are a child who will soon be transitioning to the adult ward, find out more

Our services and facilities

Our ACHD centre offers all types of treatment, including:

Contraception

If you have ACHD and feel that you do not want to get pregnant, find out more about different contraception, their effectiveness and any effects they may have on you or other medication you take. 

Pregnancy

We also provide obstetric and gynaecological care for patients with congenital heart disease. This is provided jointly with the high-risk maternity team from Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.

New developments

  • 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 

Information for existing patients

If you are already a patient with us, you will be aware that two of the unit’s doctors, Lorna Swan and Rafael Alonso-Gonzalez, left to take up positions at the University of Toronto, Canada, in 2018. We understand that this may have been an unsettling time for many of you but we have, and will continue, to maintain the level of care you deserve as an ACHD patient.

As a result, we have had to make some changes to clinic arrangements, but if you have any concerns about this or any other queries, please contact us on: 0201 351 8764.

These changes do not apply to the rest of ACHD and/or PAH clinics at the moment, although we do anticipate further changes and improvements throughout 2019 as we recruit new consultants and clinical nurse specialists (CNS), to support the service.

We remain committed to providing the best care for you and will keep you up-do-date with any further changes.

Clinic information

Our ACHD clinics now run:

Mondays

  • Dr Swan's clinic on Monday morning at Royal Brompton Hospital is now covered by Dr Isma Rafiq
  • Dr Alonso's Monday afternoon clinics at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals, are now covered by Dr Harith Alam

Wednesday

Dr Uebing's Wednesday afternoon clinic at Royal Brompton Hospital, is now covered by Dr Aleksander Kempny. 

Thursday

Dr Alonso's Thursday afternoon clinic at Harefield Hospital is temporarily covered by Dr isma Rafiq. 

Friday

Professor Michael Gatzoulis still runs his Friday morning clinic at Royal Brompton Hospital but the clinic has been split in two. The other clinic is now run by Professor Gatzoulis's consultant colleague, Dr Ana Pires. 

All other ACHD and/or PAH clinics will continue as they are at present. 

We are committed to providing patients with the best possible care. If you have any queries about these clinic changes, please contact the ACHD team by emailing achd@rbht.nhs.uk or calling 0207 351 8764.

The team

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 lead in ACHD echocardiography
  • four, 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 (clinical and academic lead, ACHD)
Dr Kostos Dimopoulos (ACHD and pulmonary hypertension)
Dr Isma Rafiq (ACHD and pregnancy)
Dr Aleksander Kempny (ACHD, pulmonary hypertension and catheter intervention)
Dr Wei Li (consultant and lead in ACHD echocardiography)
Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan (consultant and academic lead in ACHD MRI)
Dr John Wort (lead pulmonary hypertension)
Dr Laura Price (pulmonary hypertension)
Mr Darryl F Shore (consultant, cardiac surgery)
Mr Andreas Hoschtitzky (consultant, cardiac surgery)
Mr B Sethia (consultant cardiac surgery)
Mr Guido Michielon (consultant, cardiac surgery)

Clinical nurse specialists

  • Clare Finlay and Ella McDonnell (ACHD)
  • Lynda Shaughnessy, Loredana Haidu and Virginia Castro Meira (CHD netweork transition)
  • Suad Warsama (ACHD pregnancy)
  • Carl Harries (pulmonary arterial hypertension)

Patient education and empowerment are important components of the ACHD service. The clinical nurse practitioners coordinate education and patient involvement. 

Advice and education cover 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 or the British Heart Foundation

Professor Somerville

The centre 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 centre (also known as the 'grown-up congenital heart' or GUCH Unit) relocated to Royal Brompton Hospital. Since then the centre has continued to expand and go from strength to strength.

Education & research

As well as being a major research facility for congenital heart disease and cardiac surgery, our ACHD centre also provides national and international specialised training for cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, and allied disciplines. 

Specialist international clinical fellows are an integral part of our centre 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 also an integral part of the programme's academic curriculum. Find out more about Royal Brompton's 12th advanced symposium on ACHD

Members of Royal Brompton Hospital's ACHD centre are sought-after conference speakers and contributors to major literature in this emerging cardiovascular field.  The team strives to share its learning with colleagues worldwide and has produced numerous highly regarded textbooks.

Contact us

Adult congenital heart disease centre and centre for pulmonary arterial hypertension
Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals, Sydney Street, London, SW3 6NP

Write to us: Royal Brompton, Sydney Street, London SW3 6NP
Telephone: 0207 351 8764
PAH office: 020 7351 8362

Out of hours emergency: call us direct on 020 7352 8121 and ask for the on-call ACHD team, or visit your local accident and emergency department and ask them to liaise with our on-call ACHD team.

Share