Share this article on:

A History of the European Society of Thoracic Imaging

Grenier, Philippe A. MD*; Flower, Christopher MD; Schaefer-Prokop, Cornelia MD, PhD; Vock, Peter MD§

doi: 10.1097/RTI.0b013e3181cc4cc0
Historical Features

*Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France

Formerly Addenbrookes Hospital, University of Cambridge, UK

Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

§Inselspital, University of Bern, Switzerland

Reprints: Philippe A. Grenier, MD, Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris, University Pierre et Marie Curie, 47–83 bd de L'Hôpital, Paris Cedex 13 75651, France (e-mail:

Back to Top | Article Outline


In 1990, at the Fleischner Society meeting in Bern, Christopher Flower and Philippe Grenier had lunch together and dreamt up the idea of a European Society of Thoracic Imaging. They were aware of the other European subspecialty societies of radiology, namely the European Society of Paediatric Radiology, the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe, and the European Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology, and believed that there should be a thoracic equivalent.

In March 1991, at the first European Congress of Radiology in its new version in Vienna, Philippe Grenier, as the Chairman of the Refresher Course Program in Chest Radiology, invited all the European speakers involved in this program to a meeting to share with them this vision of creating a European Society of Thoracic Imaging (ESTI). All members attending this meeting embraced the idea, and it was decided to organize a brainstorming meeting the next year to consolidate the proposal. During a 2-day seminar organized by Max Coulomb in Grenoble in the spring of 1992, the objectives of the society and the foundations of the statutes were established. The concept of a 3-day annual meeting held during the first weekend of June, organized by the President of the Society, was approved. Every year a new Vice President is elected. The following year, he or she becomes President-Elect and the year after President of the Society. The continuity of the society is ensured by a General Secretary and a Treasurer, both elected for 4 years, with a maximum of 2 successive terms. The location of each meeting is determined by the desire to involve different European countries with the President-Elect resident in that country. On this basis, the ESTI was officially created in June 1993 during the inaugural meeting in Luxembourg organized by Robert Dondelinger. The number of active members of the society has varied from 85 to 140.

Since its founding in 1993, annual meetings have been organized without interruption. The locations and the presidents of these meetings are reported in Table 1. Table 2 reports the names and years of terms of the General Secretaries and Treasurers. According to modifications of the statutes approved in 2007, the term of both General Secretaries and Treasurers has been shortened to 3 years, renewable once.





Figure 1 is a photograph of ESTI faculty members taken at the 6th Annual Meeting in Bologna.



Since 2003, some distinguished members of the society have received the Presidential Award and title of Honorary Fellow of the Society in recognition of their achievements in promoting education and science in the field of thoracic imaging and their involvement in the development of ESTI (Table 3).



Back to Top | Article Outline


The aims of the society are the promotion and teaching of state-of-the-art imaging of the normal and diseased chest, provision of a platform for international exchange of knowledge and research, and support of innovative techniques in the field of thoracic imaging.

Furthermore, ESTI aims to provide recommendations and guidelines for appropriate practice in chest imaging, and to establish and strengthen long-term relationships with industry partners to convert technologic innovations into new clinical applications and continuous evaluation.

Activities of the society have been concentrated on the annual meeting, the attendance at which has varied between 140 and 500 participants. This attendance increased to more than 1000 for the 1st and 2nd World Congresses of Thoracic Imaging in Florence and Valencia, respectively. The scientific programs have included state-of-the-art reviews of thoracic disorders and advances in imaging techniques. The number of scientific papers and exhibits presented at the annual meetings have varied between 40 and 300 with continuous increase over time. Continuous medical education programs have been delivered by the best European faculty in thoracic imaging.

Back to Top | Article Outline


The fields of interest of the society members have evolved over time with the development of different imaging techniques. High-resolution computed tomography (CT), helical CT, and more recently thin-collimation multidetector CT (MDCT), the latter providing the option to assess the entire chest during a single breath hold with a volumetric high-resolution data set, have continuously improved understanding and clinical assessment of focal or diffuse airway and infiltrative lung diseases. The advent of helical CT and MDCT has revolutionized the diagnostic pathway of pulmonary thromboembolic disease, a topic that has been extensively evaluated and substantially influenced by ESTI members. In oncology, positron emission tomography CT has taken a major place for the diagnosis, staging, and follow-up of thoracic malignancies.

More recently, the interests of ESTI members have been focused on functional imaging of the lung and cardiac imaging, the latter with special attention to the assessment of cardiorespiratory physiology.

Dual-source MDCT and magnetic resonance imaging may be used to assess regional lung perfusion. Helium-3 magnetic resonance imaging has proved useful as a research tool for regional evaluation of normal and diseased lung ventilation. New post-processing techniques after volumetric high-resolution MDCT acquisitions provide quantitative assessment of lung volume and airway dimensions. They also permit mapping and quantitative assessment of the extent of emphysema and small airway diseases.

An interest in cardiac imaging has been rekindled with the advent of new imaging modalities. Nonspecific respiratory symptoms such as dyspnea at exertion, hemoptysis or atypical chest pain may have an underlying cardiac cause. Cardiac pathology affects lung parenchyma and, vice versa, diffuse pulmonary disease may increase vascular resistance and cause pulmonary arterial hypertension with right ventricular overload. Thanks to modern electrocardiogram-gated MDCT and magnetic resonance techniques, chest radiologists have dramatically improved their ability to assess the consequences and reciprocal effects of lung and heart comorbidity.

Back to Top | Article Outline


Since the beginning, like the other European subspecialty societies in radiology, ESTI has been a member of the European Society of Radiology and has had links with the European Congress of Radiology through the Subspecialty Committee of Chest Imaging. Since 2003, the official journal of ESTI has been European Radiology. Since 2007, the management of the society has been undertaken by the European Society of Radiology Office in Vienna.

For several years, ESTI has cooperated with the Fleischner Society, an international fellowship of physicians and scientists dedicated to advancing knowledge of the normal and diseased chest, and 2 joint meetings between ESTI and the Fleischner Society were held in 2002 and 2007, and another is planned for 2011.

ESTI has also been involved in the World Congress of Thoracic Imaging. Five societies (the Korean and Japanese Societies of Thoracic Imaging, the Society of Thoracic Radiology, the Fleischner Society, and ESTI) together held the First World Congress in Thoracic Imaging in Florence in 2005. The aim of the meeting was to strengthen the interdisciplinary approach to chest diseases involving radiologists, pulmonologists, surgeons, and pathologists. As a result of the exceptional success of this meeting, the experience was repeated in 2009 in Valencia with similar success.

Members of ESTI constitute a subgroup within the European Respiratory Society (ERS) devoted to the promotion and teaching of thoracic imaging: postgraduate courses and film panel discussions are regular and well-appreciated parts of the annual ERS meeting.

In the future, because of the rising interest of chest radiologists in understanding and assessing the heart, ESTI should develop a closer relationship with the European Society of Cardiac Radiology.

Back to Top | Article Outline


The authors thank Nigel Howarth, Jiri Neuwirth, Denis Tack, Lorenzo Bonomo, and Christian Herold for reviewing the manuscript.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.