Harold on History | ESC and ACC: A History of Working to Improve Heart Health Around the World

Cardiology Magazine ImageCardiology Magazine ImageCardiology Magazine ImageTop to bottom: Franz Groedel, MD, MACC, Bruno Kisch, MD, MACC and Simon Dack, MD, MACC

Not long after Franz Groedel, MD, MACC, Bruno Kisch, MD, MACC, and others founded the ACC in 1949, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) also came into being. In January 1949, representatives from 14 national cardiac societies (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Yugoslavia) met in Brussels to lay the foundation for ESC – crafting provisional statues and appointing a board. In September 1950, the ESC’s statutes were adopted at the first ESC General Assembly held during the World Congress of Cardiology in Paris.

Like the early years of ACC, education of practicing clinicians through live meetings and published research was also a priority for ESC. The first ESC Congress was held in London in September 1952 and then hosted by a different national cardiac society every four years until 1988, when it transitioned to an annual basis and was hosted by ESC itself. An ESC journal which became the European Heart Journal was first published in 1980. Similarly, the ACC’s first major meeting occurred in New York in 1951. Its first Journal of the American College of Cardiology under Editor Simon Dack, MD, MACC, was published in 1981.

It was in the early 1990s that leaders from ESC and ACC formally agreed to ongoing collaboration and fostering advancement of common interests. As a result of this collaboration, ACC and ESC leaders, members and staff come together on a regular basis to discuss ways to best tackle the global burden of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the two organizations have collaborated on joint clinical guidance to members and worked closely with the World Heart Federation and other societies towards achieving the World Health Organization’s goal of a 25 percent reduction in premature cardiovascular disease mortality by 2025 (25×25).

Additionally, the ACC and ESC conduct joint educational symposia at each ESC Congress and ACC Annual Scientific Session. At the recent ESC Congress 2017 in Barcelona, joint ESC/ACC Sessions addressed the topics of multi-modality imaging in heart failure and coronary artery angioplasty: lessons learned from the past 40 years and a look at the future. At ACC.17 in Washington, DC, in March, joint ACC/ESC sessions provided an international perspective on who should benefit from preventive cardiology, as well as case-based approaches to implementing heart failure guidelines into practice.

It’s frequently noted that cardiovascular disease knows no borders. As such, the long-standing collaborative relationship between ESC and ACC is vital to achieving both organizations’ missions and helping clinicians around the globe provide the best, evidence-based care to patients. By building on our respective histories, leveraging our collective strengths and working together to help cardiovascular professionals around the world learn from each other can we transform cardiovascular care, close gaps in health care across populations and save lives of patients on a global scale.

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