Congenital Heart Disease Research Group


Congenital heart disease affects 12 children born in the UK every day and is the commonest type of congenital anomaly. There are many types of structural defects but they often lead to reduced oxygen levels in the blood (cyanosis, ‘blue baby’) or heart failure and may require complex surgery in early childhood.

The first open heart operation was performed only 65 years ago. Since that time rapid developments in surgical techniques, interventional cardiology, and diagnostic imaging, including during fetal life, have led to the prospect of ‘cure’ or successful palliation for almost all congenital heart defects. The success of these interventions is such that nowadays, 90% of children with congenital heart disease survive into adulthood. However, many develop late complications related to their condition or interventions and almost all require lifelong follow-up.

At Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, we have a special interest in the most complex conditions including: single ventricle heart conditions and the Fontan circulation; pulmonary atresia with ventricular septal defect and major aorto-pulmonary collateral arteries; and congenitally-corrected transposition of the great arteries.

Our research involves basic science, translational and clinical research, from animal models of disease to multi-centre, interventional clinical trials. Our aims are to improve the treatments and outcomes of children and adults with congenital heart disease. 

Cardiovascular Research with Dr Victoria Stoll and Mr Nigel Drury

Current Projects

  • Congenital Heart Trials Network – a collaborative network for conducting multi-centre clinical trials across all children’s heart surgery centres in the UK & Ireland
  • BRICC trial – Bilateral Remote Ischaemic Conditioning in Children trial, a two-centre trial in children undergoing heart surgery in Birmingham and Leeds
  • RUBATO trial – an international multi-centre, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of macitentan in adults and adolescents with a Fontan circulation (sponsored by Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd)
  • Improving outcomes in single ventricle heart conditions
  • Late outcomes and exercise capacity in patients with a Fontan circulation
  • Outcomes of pregnancy in adult congenital heart disease
  • Management of the right aortic arch: a national study
  • The effects of three cardioplegia solutions on myocardial metabolism during ischaemia-reperfusion in a Langendorff mouse model
  • Understanding parents’ perspectives on clinical trials in children’s heart surgery
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital Cardiac Archive

Recent Publications

Stoll VM, Drury NE, Thorne S, Selman T, Clift P, Chong H, Thompson PJ, Morris RK, Hudsmith LE. Pregnancy Outcomes in Women With Transposition of the Great Arteries After an Arterial Switch Operation. JAMA Cardiol. 2018 Sep 5. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2018.2747.

Drury NE, Horsburgh A, Bi R, Willetts RG, Jones TJ; Congenital Heart Trials Network in the UK & Ireland. Cardioplegia practice in paediatric cardiac surgery: a UK & Ireland survey. Perfusion. 2018 Aug 10:267659118794343. doi: 10.1177/0267659118794343.

Malhotra A, Dhutia H, Finocchiaro G, Gati S, Beasley I, Clift P, Cowie C, Kenny A, Mayet J, Oxborough D, Patel K, Pieles G, Rakhit D, Ramsdale D, Shapiro L, Somauroo J, Stuart G, Varnava A, Walsh J, Yousef Z, Tome M, Papadakis M, Sharma S. Outcomes of Cardiac Screening in Adolescent Soccer Players. N Engl J Med. 2018 Aug 9;379(6):524-534. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1714719.

Drury NE, Yim I, Patel AJ, Oswald NK, Chong CR, Stickley J, Jones TJ. Cardioplegia in paediatric cardiac surgery: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2018 Jun 26. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivy199.

Clift PF. The Fontan circulation: An alternative physiology. Int J Cardiol. 2018 Apr 15;257:76-77. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2018.01.066.

Drury NE, Patel AJ, Oswald NK, Chong CR, Stickley J, Barron DJ, Jones TJ. Randomized controlled trials in children's heart surgery in the 21st century: a systematic review. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2018 Apr 1;53(4):724-731. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezx388.

Wilson WM, Valente AM, Hickey EJ, Clift P, Burchill L, Emmanuel Y, Gibson P, Greutmann M, Grewal J, Grigg LE, Gurvitz M, Hickey K, Khairy P, Mayer JE Jr, Teo E, Vonder Muhll I, Roche SL, Silversides CK, Wald RM. Outcomes of Patients With Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Reaching Adulthood After Fontan Palliation: Multicenter Study. Circulation. 2018 Feb 27;137(9):978-981. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.031282.

Bentham JR, Zava NK, Harrison WJ, Shauq A, Kalantre A, Derrick G, Chen RH, Dhillon R, Taliotis D, Kang SL, Crossland D, Adesokan A, Hermuzi A, Kudumula V, Yong S, Noonan P, Hayes N, Stumper O, Thomson JDR. Duct Stenting Versus Modified Blalock-Taussig Shunt in Neonates With Duct-Dependent Pulmonary Blood Flow: Associations With Clinical Outcomes in a Multicenter National Study. Circulation. 2018 Feb 6;137(6):581-588. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.028972.

Penford G, Quandt D, Mehta C, Bhole V, Dhillon R, Seale A, Stumper O. Stenting and overdilating small Gore-Tex vascular grafts in complex congenital heart disease. Catheter Cardiovasc Interv. 2018 Jan 1;91(1):71-80. doi: 10.1002/ccd.27310.


Principal Investigators

  • Mr Nigel E Drury – Lead
  • Dr Paul F Clift – Adult Congenital Lead
  • Mr Timothy J Jones
  • Dr Rami Dhillon
  • Dr Anna N Seale

Internal collaborators

External collaborators