Heart Lung

International study finds UK has comparatively poor outcomes for respiratory conditions

A study published by the British Medical Journal has found that the UK has one of the poorest outcomes for patients with respiratory conditions. The study was conducted to compare age-standardised death rates for respiratory disease mortality between the UK and other countries with similar health performance. In the UK, the age-standardised death rate (deaths per 100,000 people) for respiratory disease mortality fell from 151 to 89 for men and increased from 67 to 68 for women, between 1985 and 2015. In comparable countries, the corresponding changes were from 108 to 69 for men and from 35 to 37 in women.

Professor Kian Fan Chung, consultant respiratory physician at the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and professor of respiratory medicine at Imperial College London, led the study and has begun looking into what could be driving the differences in mortality.

He said: “These persistently high mortality rates in the UK compared to other EU countries regarding these respiratory diseases deserves further attention. Whether these figures reflect a failure of optimal delivery of care, or reduced access to care, needs to be looked at. The NHS Long Term Plan is addressing some of these issues, but we should continue to strive for an improvement in these mortality rates."

Professor Kian Fan Chung

Consultant respiratory physician





New web platform which allows patients to take part in research is launched

More than 300,000 people in the UK are affected by cardiomyopathies and although treatments are available to help manage symptoms, there is currently no cure for the disease. Research is vital in understanding the condition, developing new treatments and providing better care.

Many patients find taking part in research hugely empowering. However many pointed out that unless they attend one of a handful of specialist hospitals or research centres it can be incredibly difficult for them to find a way to get involved in research.

This propelled Dr James Ware, consultant cardiologist at Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, into attempting to find a solution to the problem: “The idea emerged from our conversations with patients. We want to put patients in the driving seat and provide them with a platform to connect them with research opportunities, show them what research is going on, and allow them to self-enrol in studies.”

He also explained how the platform will benefit the research community: “Some of our research needs large numbers of patients with relatively rare conditions, and we can’t find them in one centre. We also need to follow people over time, which is time-consuming and expensive.”

Dr James Ware

Honorary consultant cardiologist





Attendees delight at research on show

Staff, patients, visitors and local students were invited to attend the eighth annual Heart and Lung Research Day, where staff from both Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals demonstrated their research using accessible and hands-on activities.

Visitors were given the chance to take part in a mock clinical trial and ‘diagnose’ lung disease by listening to recordings on a computer of healthy and unhealthy lungs.

One visitor, Roxanne D’Aguiar said: “It’s really interesting to see all the incredible work that’s being carried out throughout the hospital. I have experienced first-hand the impact health research can have on a person’s life and it’s great that there are so many innovative studies taking place across different fields, for patients with a range of conditions.”