History of the North American Society for Cardiac Imaging (NASCI)
1972-1977, Formation of Society, Founding Members, Annual Refresher Courses
A group of 32 individuals met November 17, 1972 at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, Texas, to determine whether a society of those deeply interested in Cardiac Radiology should be formed; the session was chaired by Dr. Melvin Figley." So began the minutes of the founding meeting of the North American Society for Cardiac Radiology as recorded by Dr. Erik Carlsson, who originally conceived the idea of a dedicated Cardiac Radiology society. The Council on Cardiovascular Radiology was having its inaugural program on that same day at the 1972 scientific meeting of the American Heart Association. Since the Council was fairly large (740 members at that time) a separate smaller interdisciplinary organization of physicians and scientists with strong academic qualifications and interest in Cardiac Radiology was formed. As Dr. Sven Paulin noted "a limited membership based on professional and scientific accomplishment was to guarantee a fruitful exchange of information on innovations and research in progress." A founding committee was formed including Drs. Abrams, Capp, Carlsson, Elliott, Figley, Hipona, and Simon. This committee was empowered to evaluate the curriculum vitae of the individuals in attendance and others interested in becoming charter members. Membership was drawn from the ranks of cardiologists and engineers, in addition to radiologists; the society was limited to 70 members.
On June 8,1973, twenty-two of the charter membership of 62 convened for the initial meeting in Rochester, Minnesota at the Mayo Clinic, organized by Drs. George Davis and Earl Wood. The morning meeting consisted of a session on "Video Angiographic Techniques" presented by Dr. Wood and his co-workers. That afternoon, Dr. Figley was inaugurated as the first President. The "Annual Refresher Course in Cardiac Radiology" was held in New Orleans in March, 1974, in conjunction with the Third Annual meeting.
The 1975 "Second Annual Refresher Course in Cardiac Radiology" was held in Williamsburg, Virginia, and the "Third Annual Refresher Course in Cardiac Radiology" was held in San Francisco in 1976 with Dr. Paul Capp presiding. During this period, a proposal from the recently formed Society of Cardiovascular Radiology to merge the membership of the two organizations was defeated, a major reason being the exclusion of non-radiologists by the SCVR. Dr. Kent Ellis was President for the March 1977 Annual Meeting and "Fourth Annual Refresher Course in Cardiac Radiology" held in Phoenix, Arizona. Because of an increasing number of qualified applicants, the membership list was increased from 70 to 85, with a restatement of criteria for membership including active dedication and commitment to the development of Cardiac Radiology.
Over the next several years the Annual Refresher Courses in Cardiac Radiology were successfully held in conjunction with the annual members meeting. A cardiovascular imaging curriculum was presented with heavy emphasis on then highly popular angiocardiography, but with a healthy dose of the other Cardiac Imaging modalities including routine thoracic roentgenology and fluoroscopy, nuclear medicine, ultrasound and the new emerging technology, computerized transaxial tomography. In addition to the established well known cardiac radiologists from which the early Presidents were drawn, young radiologists just developing their careers in Cardiac Radiology became active participants.
1978 - 1982: Non-Profit Incorporation, Official Journal, Logo, Member of the Intersociety Commission of the American College of Radiology
In 1978, Dr. Erik Carlsson became President. The society was incorporated in the state of Washington as a nonprofit corporation and the Journal of Cardiovascular Radiology became its official journal. Its logo was designed; it represents the heart and aorta upon which the pulmonary artery is superimposed. The Annual Meeting was held in Las Vegas and computerized tomography of the heart became a topic of interest.
In 1979, the meeting moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; Dr. Larry Elliott was President. San Francisco was the site of the 1980 meeting, under Dr. Herbert Abrams as President, where, for the first time, cardiac computed tomography had a stand alone session along with conventional angiography, plain films, ultrasound and nuclear medicine diagnosis. The emphasis on new and emerging technologies was continued in 1981 on Hilton Head Island, under President Dr. Murray Baron. Digital subtraction and nuclear magnetic resonance were added to the program. NASCR was active educationally and politically by obtaining representation on the Intersociety Commission of the American College of Radiology. Subspecialty certification was being considered for the first time by the ACR. Incorporation of the Cardiovascular section on the oral boards in Radiology was largely the work of members of NASCR, specifically Drs. Capp and Lester.
1983 - 1993: Annual Scientific Meeting, Research, Conjoint Meetings
The 1983 Annual Meeting was held in Scottsdale, Arizona, with Dr. Richard Jaffe as President and the 1984 meeting was held in Washington, DC, with Dr. Sven Paulin presiding. The 1985 Annual Meeting in San Francisco heavily emphasized DSA and MRI, under President Dr. Charles Higgins' leadership. Interest in pure Cardiac Imaging was waning as cardiologists became more involved in cardiac interventions and radiologists turned to non-cardiovascular imaging and interventional techniques. The Society continued with its Annual Meeting emphasizing education and research in Cardiac Imaging with strong support for these activities from industry.
The 1986 Annual Meeting was held in Boston under the presidency of Dr. Kenneth Fellows. A committee on "Residency Training in Cardiac Radiology" was formed and was instrumental in incorporating questions on the written and oral examinations of the American Board of Radiology. During this two year period, Cardiac Radiology was devastated by the deaths of several nationally and internationally known pioneer academic and innovative angiographers; Drs. Dotter, Judkins, Sones, Baltaxe, Ricketts, Gruntzig, and Gensini.
The 1987 Annual Meeting was held in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Harold Dodge, then President, was the first non- radiologist to so serve the Society (Dr. Paul Cannon would become the second non-radiologist to be President in 1990). The 1988 meeting was held in Washington, DC, under President Dr. Diana Guthaner. This meeting was entirely devoted to Cardiac MRI and the proceedings were published in the Journal of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology. In 1989, under Dr. Donald Harrington as President, the last "Annual Refresher Course" given by the Society was held in Seattle in conjunction with the Association of University Radiologists. A one-day focused session on "Emission Tomography of the Heart" was incorporated into the Annual Meeting.
Subsequent Annual Meetings were also held in conjunction with the meetings of other societies, our members frequently participating in their programs by presenting lectures and focused sessions on various aspects of Cardiac Imaging. The 1990 Washington, DC meeting, with Dr. Cannon as President, was held with the American Roentgen Ray Society. A special course on Cardiac Imaging was given for the ARRS by members of the Society. The 1991 Annual Meeting was held with the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology in San Francisco under President Dr. Ina Tonkin. The 1992 Annual Meeting was in Charleston, South Carolina where members of the Society participated in the jointly held annual meeting of the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions with Dr. Julius Grollman serving as President. During Dr. Grollman's term the name of the society was changed to the "North American Society for Cardiac Imaging" to keep pace with the changing academic interest of the Society; the restriction of the number of active members to 85 was also eliminated. The 1993 Annual Meeting was held in conjunction with the SCA&I lead by President Curtis Green, in San Antonio, Texas.
1993 to Present: Revitalization, Strategic Plan, Advances in Cardiac MRI, Teaching-the-Teachers, Globalization
When the Society entered its third decade, Dr. Lewis Wexler, as President, undertook the revitalization of the field of Cardiac Imaging by taking the initiative in cardiac MRI. A strategic planning retreat was held in 1993 in Menlo Park, California, attended by 19 members of NASCI. The retreat attendees recommended that NASCI employ Joan Saluzzi (now Joan Oefner) as the Executive Director. Ms. Oefner has maintained an office in the San Francisco Bay Area and provides membership services, meeting planning, financial management and communications services to the Society. An action plan was formulated and instituted as a result of the retreat and subsequent committee meetings held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the RSNA and the American Heart Association. Active advocacy of Cardiac Imaging, in the form of one to three day courses, were organized and cardiac MRI courses were held in conjunction with other radiological societies including the American College of Radiology, the Society of Thoracic Radiology, the Society of Magnetic Resonance (now the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM), the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology, the AHA Council on Cardiovascular Radiology (now the AHA Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention), and the American Roentgen Ray Society. This approach remains a fundamental strategy for the advancement of Cardiac Imaging among radiologists.
The 1994 Annual Meeting was held in conjunction with the newly merged International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) in Dallas, Texas. A special session on cardiac magnetic resonance took place at that meeting which was open to members of both societies. The immense success of this conjoint meeting emboldened NASCI to hold its 1995 Annual Meeting in Nice, France, again in concert with the ISMRM. The Japanese Society of Cardiovascular Radiology, the Cardiac Radiology Club of the UK, and other European experts were invited to join in submitting papers for presentation at the NASCI 22nd Annual Meeting that took place one day prior to the ISMRM meeting in Nice. In addition to the NASCI scientific meeting, an international group of speakers were invited to participate in a NASCI symposium entitled "State- of-the Art of Cardiovascular MRI" that was offered as part of the ISMRM educational program. The program appealed to a wide variety of interests and had an attendance of 150 people. Dr. Charles Higgins from the University of California, San Francisco chaired both of the NASCI meetings in Nice.
Representatives of the Society of Thoracic Radiology and NASCI began meeting together in December 1994, to discuss a number of possible areas of interaction between the two societies. Both societies expressed a desire to interact in ways that are mutually beneficial to the growth of thoracic and cardiovascular radiology and for the improvement of research and education in Cardiothoracic Radiology. The 1996 Annual Meeting of NASCI was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society of Thoracic Radiology in February, 1996, in Kona, Hawaii. Dr. William Stanford from the University of Iowa Hospitals chaired the annual scientific meeting.
In keeping with NASCI's goal to revitalize the field of Cardiac Imaging, one strategy has been to familiarize more teachers about cardiac anatomy, pathophysiology and imaging techniques, particularly MRI, so that more radiologists can be trained to perform and interpret these procedures. The "Teach-the-Teachers Symposium on Cardiac Imaging", the first held May, 1994, in San Francisco and the second in New York City, May, 1995, was designed for radiology department faculty to prepare attendees to be the "cardiac radiologist" in their radiology training program. Additional educational efforts continued with seminars, regional courses, resident and postgraduate programs and self-teaching materials. As MRI becomes more clinically relevant to cardiac problems, attention will be directed toward educating other specialists in the techniques of MRI so as to widen the application of this new imaging technology.
In contemplating the historical development of the Society, it is apparent that its growth and the changes that have occurred in the name of the Society, content of the scientific and post graduate programs, and the roster of members are a reflection of the advances and changes that have occurred in Cardiac Imaging technology, image analysis and development of interventional techniques by radiologists, cardiologist and physicists. With enhanced world-wide communication, we look to a future Society that will include a network of cardiac imagers from all nations bound together by their common interest.