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Prof Denny Levett


Professor of Critical Care and Perioperative Medicine

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Prof Levett joined UHS in July 2015 as a consultant in critical care and perioperative (during surgery) medicine. She was appointed professor of perioperative medicine and critical care by the University of Southampton in 2018. She leads the surgical high dependency critical care unit, looking after high-risk patients after major surgery, and also the perioperative medicine service at UHS.

Her research is focused on two areas; 

  1. Improving outcomes following major surgery by developing innovative approaches to perioperative care

  2. Understanding human metabolism (the chemical processes the body does continuously to stay alive) under conditions of hypoxia

Landmark publications:

Levett DZH, Swart M, Carlisle J, Wilson J, Snowden C, Riley M, Danjoux G, Ward S, Older P, Grocott M. Peri-operative Cardiopulmonary Exercise (CPET): Consensus clinical guidelines on indications, organisation, conduct and physiological interpretation of CPET. Br J Anaesth. 2018 Mar;120(3):484-500.

MPW Grocott, DS Martin, DZH Levett, JS Windsor, R McMorrow, Montgomery H, Caudwell Xtreme Everest Research Group. Arterial blood gases and oxygen content in climbers on Mount Everest. New England Journal of Medicine 2009;360(2):140-9.

Horscroft JA, Kotwica AO, Laner V, West JA, Hennis PJ, Levett DZH, Grocott MPW, Gnaiger E, Martin DS, Murray AJ. Metabolic basis to Sherpa altitude adaptation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2017 Jun 13;114(24):6382-6387.

Levett DZ, Viganò A, Capitanio D, Vasso M, De Palma S, Moriggi M, Martin DS, Murray AJ, Cerretelli P, Grocott MP, Gelfi C. Muscle proteomics in the course of the Caudwell Xtreme Everest Expedition to Mt Everest. Proteomics. 2015 Jan;15(1):160-71.

Levett Denny Z, Radford EJ, Menassa DA, Graber EF, Hoppeler H, Clarke K, Martin DS, Ferguson-Smith AC, Montgomery HE, Grocott MPW, Murray AJ. Acclimatization of Skeletal Muscle Mitochondria to High Altitude Hypoxia During an Ascent of Everest. FASEB Journal 2012; 26(4):1431-41.

Levett, Denny Z, Bernadette O. Fernandez, Heather L. Riley, Daniel S. Martin, Kay Mitchell, Carl A. Leckstrom, Can Ince, Brian J. Whipp, Monty G. Mythen, Hugh E. Montgomery, Mike P. Grocott, and Martin Feelisch. The role of nitrogen oxides in human adaptation to hypoxia. Scientific Reports 2011;1:109.

Fecher-Jones I, Grimmett C, Edwards MR, Knight JS, Smith J, Leach H, Moyses H, Jack S, Grocott MPW, Levett DZH. Development and evaluation of a novel pre- operative surgery school and behavioural change intervention for patients undergoing elective major surgery: Fit-4-Surgery School. Anaesthesia. 2021 Feb 3. doi: 10.1111/anae.15393. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 3353801

Major grants:

2017-2022: NIHR Health Technology Assessment INSPIRE trial

Clinical CI: £1,854,558

Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of INSPIRatory musclE training for reducing postoperative pulmonary complications.

2020-2022: Macmillan Cancer Support; The National Lottery Community Fund (DCMS) and Wessex Clinical Research Network (ETC)

PI: £917,530

SafeFit Trial: Virtual clinics to deliver a multimodal intervention to improve psychological and physical wellbeing in people with cancer. Protocol of a COVID-19 targeted non-randomised phase III trial.

2017-2020: NHSE Sustainability and Transformation Partnership

Clinical lead and CO-I: £3,600,000

WESFIT: Randomised control trial to evaluate physical and psychological prehabilitation in major intracavity cancer surgery.

Impact examples:

Founding President of International Perioperative Exercise Testing and Training Society (POETTS).

Introduction of international accreditation for perioperative exercise testing (POETTS accreditation).

Lead author guidelines for the conduct of perioperative exercise testing and COVID exercise testing guidelines.

National guidance for preassessment and preoptimisation of patients awaiting elective surgery during Covid.

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