The European Society of CardioVascular Surgery (ESCVS) was founded May 31st, 1951, in the city of Turin, Italy, with statutes in Strasbourg, France, under the name of “Société Européenne de Chirurgie CardioVasculaire”. René Leriche was elected as president R. dos Santosas as vice president, G. Arnulf as secretary-general and R. Riveaux as treasurer. The founders and subscribers of these first statutes were 40 physicians representing 11 European countries. The first congress of the society was organized in Strasbourg (oct. 5-6, 1952).

At the same time, thanks to contacts between Leriche and Haimovici, the ESCVS was also adopted as the European Chapter of the International Society of Angiology (decision taken in Atlantic City on June 14th, 1952) and a first Joint Congress organised in Lisboa Sept. 18-20, 1953; thereafter a biennial Congress of the ESCVS alternating with the biennial Congress of the International Society of Angiology were held. In 1957 the International Society of Angiology changed its name into International Cardiovascular Society (ICVS) in Atlantic City, and finally into International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery (ISCVS) during the Athens Congress in 1981.

The history of the ESCVS can be divided in three successive periods : a pioneers’ period, a maturity’s period and the current period. We consider that the first period extends from 1951 till 1971: era of surgeons in our society really devoted to the surgery of cardiac, vascular and cardiovascular diseases.

The venues of the congresses during these 21 years were 18 times in Europe and outside Europe in Philadelphia (1965), Buenos Aires (1969), and it is interesting to note that , the 20th Congress of the ICVS with the ESCVS was organized in Moscow (1971) Since 1957, a Leriche Memorial Lecture was given during the Congress (usually by the president of the Society). The abstracts accepted as oral communication or poster were published either in volumes taken in charge by the Congress Organization or in some supplements to the regular issues of the Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery published by Minerva Medica.(1960-1992). The second period of the history of ESCVS may be considered as a “Maturity’s period” (from 1972 till 2004). The presidents were E. Malan (1972-1974), J. Cid dos Santos (1974-1975), A. Senning (1975-1976), Ch. Hahn (1976-1978), J. Nielubowicz (1978-1980), V. Björk (1980-1982), N. Browse (1982-1984), M. Macedo (1984-1986), J. Vollmar (1986-1988), W. Bircks (1988-1990), A. Thévenet (1990-1992), G. Rabago (1992-1993), F. Vermeulen (1993-1994), F. Vermeulen (1994-1996), A. Dinis da Gama (1996-1998), P. Biglioli (1998-2000), C. Dzsinich (2000-2002), J.C. Schoevaerdts (2002-2004). The secretaries general were J. Sautot, Ph. Blondeau, J.C. Schoevaerdts and Cl. Muneretto.

The great modification of the activities of the Society was the adoption of an Annual Congress of the ESCVS (and not a biennial anymore) in 2001 in Budapest when the Society celebrated its 50th Jubilee. During this second period, the Congresses organized outside Europe by the ICVS (72-81) and ISCVS (81-2004) with te ESCVS as European Chapter, took place in Tokyo (1977), San Francisco (1978), Rio de Janeiro (1983), Sidney (1987), Toronto (1989), Kyoto (1995), Melbourne (1999), Cancun (2001) and Maui (2004). The topics of the Congresses were alway focussing on recent developments in dedicated symposia with numerous invited speakers; each congress also had a Leriche Memorial Lecture, a Society Lecture, a Cardiac and Vascular or Cardiovascular Guest Lecture (and a Mattas Lecture during the ISCVS Congress).

The number of members progressively increased from 745 in 1972 to 1126 in1998 as well as the number of participants during the Congresses. The organization of the Society always followed a democratic pattern (with national delegates, executive committee with members periodically elected by the general assembly). The abstracts were published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery till 1992, in Cardiovascular Surgery till 2003 and in Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery (Elsevier) (2003-2011). The third period is the recent and current period (2004-2011). The presidents were : E. Kieffer (2004-2006), S. Schueler (2006-2008), J. Deriu (2008-2010), M. Zembala (2010-2012). The secretary general has been Cl. Muneretto. The most important steps were the modifications of some parts of the Constitution and Bylaws, a new name with the same logo : European Society for Cardio-Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Surgery (ESCVS), an expansion of the common cardiovascular program, a special allocation of research papers and an incorporation during the Congresses of an educational program for young surgeons (practical sessions, live surgery or videos, a session organized by young investigators, and competitions for vascular and cardiac research prizes). Along this history 18 honorary members have been nominated: F. Martorell, A.Senning, C.Dubost, C.Arnulf, W.Cleveland, M.M.Macedo, Ch.Hahn, P.Blondeau, A.Thevenet, W.Bircks, F.Hehrlein, CH.H.Chalant, D.Casarotto, H.Bentall, J.Natali, F.Vermeulen, H.Terpstra, J.Vollmar.

In conclusion, the study of the history of this Society demonstrates that this oldest European Society in Cardiovascular Surgery always maintained a high degree of competency in their strong interrelated fields of cardiac, vascular and cardiovascular surgery with respect of each speciality, and always permitted a wide forum for technical and socio-cultural interchange.