The 2015 annual meeting of the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) in September in Lisbon, Portugal, marks a special occasion—it will be 30 years since a key meeting in Austria in 1985, in which a merger of two societies led to the birth of CIRSE. Interventional radiology on the continent has come a long way in these years following its modest, but promising, beginnings.
It was a direct conversation between two leaders in the new field of interventional radiology that led to the developments that culminated in the foundation of CIRSE in April 1985. Friedrich Olbert responded positively when François Pinet suggested a merger of the two societies—the European College of Angiography (ECA) and the European Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology (ESCIR)—both societies that represented interventional radiologists in Europe at the time.
After tremendous efforts behind the scenes by stalwarts including Pinet, Ulf Tylen, and Eberhard Zeitler, the merger was finalised at the two societies’ joint meeting in Vienna. CIRSE officially emerged on April 24 and had around 300 members.
The early achievements included the first CIRSE congress in Jerusalem in May 1986—during a joint meeting held with the American Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology (SCVIR), which later became the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR). The journal CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology (CVIR) became the society’s official journal in 1991 and in just under a decade after that, in 2000, the CIRSE Foundation was established. “By the time CIRSE celebrated its 20th anniversary in Nice, France, in 2005, membership approached 1,500, and the annual congress was attracting 3,500 participants. The Executive Committee decided to establish a permanent office in Vienna, prompting a flurry of new initiatives and achievements,” CIRSE reports.
Onsite celebrations of the anniversary include a one-off “X-Session” that will feature six past CIRSE presidents sharing anecdotes about seminal moments in their career that shaped their approach to interventional radiology. These could involve an unusual encounter, a particularly intriguing case, or an unexpected development or outcome. Each speaker will conclude their presentation by outlining their own personal advice for the audience.
A timely and fitting tribute is also the Gold Medal presentation to Joseph Rösch, one of the pioneers of interventional radiology, who has been highly involved in introducing interventional radiology education in Central and Eastern Europe.
The society also showcased a single webpage charting the course of CIRSE’s history. It is structured into four main sections: “The early days” (how interventional radiology began), “The birth of CIRSE” (how the merger of the ECA and the ESCIR came about), “First Steps” and “The Modern Era” (the founding of the permanent office in Vienna, and how the society has grown and branched out into other educational, research, quality assurance and advocacy projects).
A special “30 Years of CIRSE” Lounge, with various goodies and screens was also featured at the annual meeting.