Surgery

We are the largest provider of cardiothoracic surgery in the UK. The Trust is a national referral centre for cardiac and thoracic surgery, and the only specialist cardiothoracic trust to provide treatment for patients of all age groups.

Our work

Harefield Hospital's first heart transplant was carried out in 1980. The first robotic-assisted heart operation in the UK was conducted at Royal Brompton Hospital. We were the first centre in the UK to start stenting therapy for benign and malignant airway disease.  

We have long experience in minimally invasive techniques in lung and pleural disease, developed over two decades. We were the first centre in the UK to start trials of lung volume reduction surgery.

Pioneering work on the arterial switch procedure, surgical ablation for atrial fibrillation and the systematic use of the radial artery as an aortocoronary bypass graft have all been carried out here. The Trust is also a leader in the provision of ventricular-assist device (VAD) therapy. 

Our staff

We have four distinct subspecialist services:

We currently employ 14 adult cardiac surgeons, six thoracic surgeons and four paediatric and congenital cardiac surgeons.

Our facilities

The surgical department at Royal Brompton Hospital has five operating theatres with 20 intensive care and 54 surgical beds. All paediatric and congenital cardiac work undertaken at Royal Brompton is supported by 16 paediatric intensive care, eight high dependency and 30 paediatric beds.

The surgical department at Harefield Hospital has five operating theatres with 18 intensive care and 45 surgical beds. All cardiothoracic transplantation work is undertaken at Harefield, supported by a dedicated 33-bed transplant unit and specialist diagnostic services.

Our expertise

  • Mitral valve repair and replacement, including simple procedures and complex repairs
  • Aortic valve procedures including the Ross operation, aortic valve-preserving root replacement homografts, re-operative aortic surgery and a host of artificial valve substitutes
  • International leadership in airway resections and complex reconstructions
  • Interventional endoscopic treatment of airway obstruction
  • Minimally invasive (“keyhole”) heart surgery, including being the first cardiothoracic unit in the country to be performing robotic surgery
  • Beating heart (“off-pump“) heart surgery
  • Complex surgery for arrhythmia
  • Surgical intervention to treat heart failure, including pioneering work in fitting left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) or "artificial hearts"
  • Extensive experience in pectus surgery, including minimally invasive repair
  • Surgical intervention in emphysema cases
  • Surgical treatment for lung, chest and oesophageal cancers, and non-malignant thoracic surgery
  • Lung volume reduction surgery
  • Complex surgery for locally advanced thoracic malignancies (e.g. Grunenwald procedure for Pancoast tumours)
  • Centre of excellence for pulmonary metastasectomy (we are the designated provider of Thoracic Sarcoma Surgery Services for Greater London)
  • Pioneering work in cryosurgery, where by freezing tumours we can operate on patients where intervention would otherwise be difficult

Heart valve bank

The Trust operates a heart valve bank licensed by the Human Tissue Authority to procure and process tissue under the Human Tissue Act and the European Union Tissue & Cells Directive.

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