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On August 31, 2014, a great Mentor, a visionary pioneer and a giant in the field of echocardiography, Prof. Dr. Jos R.T.C. Roelandt passed away.

In November 1969, Prof. Roelandt joined the Thoraxcentre in Rotterdam and started research in clinical echocardiography. He was a visionary innovator in the field of echocardiography and anticipated by decades the future clinical developments of echocardiography. He contributed to the development of the first real-time two-dimensional scanner in 19711.

In 1993, he revolutionized the concept of data set acquisition in three-dimensional echocardiography by introducing the rotational acquisition that opened the door to the first clinical applications of three-dimensional echocardiography2.
In 1978, he introduced the concept of miniaturized hand-held ultrasound scanners which have become a clinical tool able to revolutionize the practice and the teaching of clinical cardiology at the turn of the new century3.
In 1987, he introduced the concept of intravascular ultrasound which is used nowadays to assess the severity of coronary stenosis and the correct appositions of stents during percutaneous coronary intervents4.

Besides being a pioneer and an innovator in echocardiography, Prof. Roelandt was the godfather of clinical echocardiography. He tirelessly promoted the development and the use of the technique in clinical practice. In 1974, he stated: “Non-invasive ultrasonic examinations should be increased in order to reduce the number of potentially hazardous angiograms and avoid these invasive studies entirely in specific groups of patients”.
It was a revolutionary statement at that point in time but since then echocardiography has evolved into a very sophisticated and accurate diagnostic modality and nowadays cardiac catheterization for diagnostic purposes, except the assessment of the anatomy of coronary artery lesions, is rarely performed anymore.

Prof. Roelandt was the recipient of numerous awards for his pioneering work in cardiac ultrasound5 and delivered numerous prestigious lectures around the world. Jos Roelandt served as chairman of the ESC Working Group on Echocardiography (1976–1982) and as president of the Dutch Society of Cardiology (1995–1997), the International Cardiac Doppler Society (1997–1998) and the International Society of Non-Invasive Cardiology. He was the Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal of Echocardiography from 1999 to 2010. He served on the Editorial Board of numerous major cardiology journals and authored and co-authored over 1000 scientific papers and 19 textbooks. For his achievements, he was awarded the Cross of Officer in the Order of Leopold in 1993 and became a Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion in 2003.

Not only was he a great scientist and clinical cardiologist but he was also a teacher and a mentor, and during his academic career he trained hundreds of echocardiographers who joined him at the Thoraxcenter in Rotterdam. He was also a fantastic story-teller, and you could spend hours with him listening to the most fantastic stories about how some of the milestones of modern echocardiography and clinical cardiology were discovered or developed.

The death of Prof. Jos R.T.C. Roelandt has been a great loss to non-invasive cardiologists and echocardiographers, and to clinical cardiology in general. We shall always remember him.

Accordingly, to honor his memory, in 2015, the Directors of the 3D echo 360° meeting established the Jos R.T.C. Roelandt honorary lecture as the opening lecture of all 3D Echo 360° European editions. The lecture will be delivered by internationally renown speakers who have known/worked with Jos and and are able to perpetuate his legacy.
The first honorary lecture “25 years of echocardiography and what can we dream of for the future” was delivered by Bernhard Mumm, (CEO at TomTec Imaging Systems).
This year, another master of echocardiography, and great friend of Jos, will join us in Padua to honor his memory and provide great teaching about echocardiography, Prof. Joseph A. Kisslo (Durham, NC, USA) will deliver the 2nd Jos RTC Roelandt honorary lecture whose intriguing title will be "The Lion spoke to me and said ..."

To finish this paper, a quote from an unknown poet:

There are some we meet in passing
And forget as soon as they go
There are some we remember with pleasure
And feel honoured and privileged to know
You were that kind of person
Who leaves beautiful memories behind
And there will be many days
Which will bring fond memories to mind.

We feel honoured and priviledged to have known you and learned from you, Jos.

References

  1. Bom N, Lancee CT, Van Zwieten G, Kloster FE, Roelandt J. Multi-scan echocardiography, I: technical description. Circulation. 1973;48:1066-1074
  2. Roelandt JRCT, ten Cate FJ, Vletter WB, Taams MA.Ultrasonic dynamic three-dimensional visualization of the heart with a multiplane transesophageal imaging transducer. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 1994;7 (3 Pt 1): 217-29
  3. Roelandt J, Wladimiroff JW, Baars AM. Ultrasonic real time imaging with a hand-held-scanner. Part II--initial clinical experience. Ultrasound Med Biol. 1978;4(2):93-7
  4. Roelandt JR, Serruys PW, Bom N, Gussenhoven WG, Lancee CT, ten Hoff H. Intravascular real-time, two-dimensional echocardiography. Int J Card Imaging. 1989;4(1):63-7
  5. Lancellotti P, Habib G, Badano LP. Nihoyannopoulos P, Fraser A, Pinto F. Zamorano JL, Distante A, Maurer G. J.R.T.C. ROELANDT (November 12, 1938–August 31, 2014). Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging 2014; 9: DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjci/jeu198

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