Partner 3: Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust (RB&HFT)

Clinical Centre

The RB&HFT has an internationally renowned research reputation and is the leading NHS hospital in cardiovascular and respiratory research in England, the UK and arguably in Europe. The Trust is also the largest postgraduate specialist heart and lung centre in the UK. The Trust is home to two National Institutes for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Units (BRUs;; one for both our respiratory and cardiovascular research programmes. Both BRUs were successfully renewed in 2011. The BRUs provide the organisational vehicle for the Trust’s experimental research activities as well as state-of-the-art facilities and staffed core resources. Many of our researchers are key opinion leaders in respiratory or cardiovascular medicine.

Research into cardiovascular and respiratory medicine is central to the Trust’s mission with the starting point being the needs of the patients treated every day. By investigating the causes of their conditions and testing new ways of diagnosing and treating them, the RB&HFT has been responsible for many significant medical advances which have been taken up across the NHS and beyond. The most recent findings of an analysis of biomedical and health research in England commissioned by the Department of Health*, demonstrated that our Trust continues to be the most highly research active NHS organisation in cardiovascular and respiratory disease; as reflected by its 8.34% share of highly cited publications (HCPs) in these areas. The work under the ARISE project will be carried out at the Department of Cardiac Surgery. Research at the RB&HFT uses new state-of-the-art cardiovascular magnetic imaging, computer generated modelling and cutting-edge genomic techniques. The main areas of the research programme are:

  • Identifying new genes and understanding the genetic mechanisms responsible for structural changes to aortic wall and bicuspid aortic valves
  • Identifying genetic and biological markers to help develop early diagnosis and treatments for patients with abnormal aortas and their relatives
  • Assessing effectiveness of a preventative aortic operation developed at the hospital for patients with inherited Marfan Syndrome
  • Running an international therapeutic drug trial to target restoring the structure of the aortic wall

Main tasks

As one of the clinical centres, the RB&HFT will contribute predominantly to WPs 3, 4 and 5 and will also be actively involved in WP 6 Dissemination and Outreach. The main tasks of the participant are:

  • Homograft supply: Existing longstanding collaboration with a local tissue bank.
  • Setting up the local and national frameworks for the clinical trial, e.g. contact with local ethics committees and other involved institutions, submission of the respective forms and applications
  • Implementation of the clinical trial, e.g. patient identification and information, operation and follow-up
  • Support in the establishment of an ARISE registry
  • Participation in dissemination activities at scientific congresses, publication of the results and public outreach activities

Contributors to ARISE

Professor John Pepper, Professor of Surgery, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon
Ulrich Rosendahl, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon
George Asmicopoulos, Consultant Aortic Surgeon
Dr Rajdeep Khattar, Consultant Cardiologist in Adult Echocardiography
Dr Martyn Johnson, Heart Valve Bank Manager
Patrik Pettersson, Admin on application and finance



*Van Leeuwen T, Grant J, Chonaill S. RAND Working Paper - Bibliometric analysis of highly cited publications of health research in England 2002-2006. RAND. February 2011