Specialist services at King's

At King’s, we provide specialist services for which we are known nationally and internationally. A number of these are summarised below. We have expert spokespeople in all these areas and we can also help journalists looking for powerful and inspirational stories involving our patients. You can also see a full list of King's services.

Liver transplants

King's has the largest liver transplant centre in Europe. We have pioneered new techniques in liver transplantation, including the splitting of donated livers to benefit more than one patient. We are an international centre for the diagnosis and treatment of viral hepatitis. We are also home to the largest children’s liver service in the UK.

In summer 2010, the liver unit featured in Channel 4 series The Hospital, which looked at the impact young people's lifestyles are having on the NHS. In January 2011, our Hepatitis C service was also the subject of a BBC Radio 4 Case Notes programme presented by GP Dr Mark Porter.

Stroke (brain attacks) and Major Trauma Centre status

We are home to one of London's three Major Trauma Centres (MTCs), meaning patients with life-threatening injuries are transferred to us by paramedics or air ambulance for specialist treatment. Our Emergency Department (ED) treats more than 120,000 patients every year, and is the subject of Channel 4’s 14-part primetime series 24 Hours in A&E, which features our staff and the patients they treat.

King's also has a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit. People who have a stroke (brain attack) require urgent treatment as well as clot-busting drugs to help restore blood flow. Our Stroke Unit was recently ranked by the Royal College of Physicians as one of the top five in the country.

Heart disease and heart attacks

King's is a centre of excellence for primary angioplasty. This is a technique whereby a stent (small metal tube) is used to open up arteries which have narrowed or become blocked. We recently became one of the first hospitals in London to use a biodegradable heart stent, which dissolves after the vessel has healed and no longer needs support.

In tandem with our cardiac colleagues at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, King's also runs the largest aortic valve replacement programme in the UK. The programme – which avoids the need for open heart surgery – has the potential to help thousands of people with artificial heart valves deemed too high risk for repeat open heart surgery.

Looking after children before they are born

The Harris Birthright Unit at King’s is one of the largest foetal medicine units of its kind in the world, seeing 15,000 women and their unborn babies each year. Led by Professor Kypros Nicolaides, the unit provides specialist testing and treatment for babies with abnormalities in the womb, including Down’s Syndrome, heart defects and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

The unit was the focus of a 2009 Channel 4 documentary, Emergency in the Womb. More recently, it featured in a National Geographic documentary called In the Womb: Miracle Babies, which was broadcast in February 2011.

Brain surgery

We have 14 consultant neurosurgeons at King’s, helping patients who have suffered major head trauma (for example, in road traffic accidents), brain haemorrhages, as well as brain and spinal tumours. King’s also provides specialist services for patients with epilepsy, as well as movement disorders including Parkinson’s and dystonia.

In 2009, King’s neurosurgeon Nick Thomas performed a pituitary tumour removal live on Channel 4 as part of The Operation: Surgery Live series. More recently, King’s neurosurgeons have featured in the media for performing deep brain stimulation on a King’s patient with dystonia aged only four years old, as well as for the removal of a tumour from a patient’s optic nerve, which was taken out via her nose. This was the first time the operation had been carried out in the UK.

Blood cancers

King’s is a major centre for the treatment of leukaemias, including rare forms of the disease. We run the largest bone marrow transplant service in the UK, carrying out more than 150 transplants every year. This includes bone marrow donated anonymously and parent-to-child bone marrow transplants.

We are also home to the Kingscord programme, which involves women giving birth at the Trust donating blood rich in stem cells from their umbilical cord and placenta for use in transplants. The programme at King’s is run in partnership with the Anthony Nolan Trust.