Welcome to the Department of Thoracic Surgery at
University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. These web
pages are designed to provide an overview of our services for
prospective patients, their families and carers. If you are
coming into hospital for surgery, they will give you an idea of
what will happen during your stay, and how you can help contribute
to your recovery.
The department deals with the surgical management of chest
disease. Tumours, infections and other disorders of the lungs, the
chest wall, the lung lining (the pleura), the mediastinum (middle
of the chest) and diaphragm are investigated and
treated. Surgery for heart and oesophageal
(gullet) disease takes place elsewhere
in the hospital.
We have a particular interest in minimally-invasive
surgery (known as video-assisted thoracic surgery, or VATS),
including VATS lobectomy. Other specialist areas of
expertise include chest wall surgery and
trans-cervical thymectomy for myasthenia gravis.
Our catchment area is large and covers Avon,
Somerset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and north Dorset. We also
receive referrals from elsewhere.
In 2010 we adopted the principles of enhanced
recovery for all patients undergoing thoracic surgery.
The key to its success is patient involvement, which we believe
leads to better outcomes. Implementing enhanced recovery pathways
is one of many improvements the NHS is undertaking. Modern surgical
and anaesthetic techniques play a part but, more importantly,
patients are encouraged to take an active part in their own
recovery. We hope that the better prepared you are the easier
and more successful this will be.
This website does not provide medical advice.
If you think you may require chest surgery, talk to your doctor in
the first instance.
We are based in Bristol Royal Infirmary. In-patients are
looked after on Ward 6 (level 6 Queen's Building), with high
dependency and intensive care provided on Wards 3 (ITU) and 99
(HDU) (levels 4 and 5 Queen's Building) if required.
Surgery takes place at the Bristol Royal infirmary or the
Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
Most patients will be referred by a respiratory
physician (chest medicine specialist), often through one of the
lung cancer multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) which we serve.
Some patients are referred directly by their general practitioner
or by other specialists.
The department welcomes referrals from hospitals and
GPs outside our normal referral area.
Audit and quality assurance
The department sends data to several internal and external
bodies to ensure the quality of our services. These include
reporting on issues such as surgical site and other infections,
waiting times and patient satisfaction. Through our local
lung cancer networks, information on our activity is sent to the
national lung cancer audit (see www.ic.nhs.uk/canceraudits/lung).
We also send annual activity data to the UK Society for Thoracic
This is based on the following principles:
- The patient is in the best possible condition for surgery
- The patient has the best possible management during and after
- The patient experiences the best post-operative
We will talk to you about the operation beforehand, what to
expect and how to aid your own recovery afterwards. For major
operations, this will include goals to aim for every day.
These are outlined in the patient diary (see useful information section).
The preoperative assessment team will discuss this with you and
provide additional information.
Further information about the national programme can be obtained
Referral information for