Thus due to an initiative by 25 European experts, the European Society of Emergency Radiology (ESER) was founded in October 2011 under the umbrella of the European Society of Radiology (ESR). Among those experts is Professor Ulrich Linsenmaier, Medical Director at the Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at three hospitals in Munich, Germany. In conversation with European Hospital, Prof. Ulrich explained why Europe needs a dedicated society in this field. ‘We had been thinking about creating a forum for resources in teaching, research and science on the European level for some time,’ he said.
‘Emergency radiology has progressed immensely over recent years due to, for example, innovations in multi-detector computed tomography – MDCT – and whole-body exams. Therefore, we urgently needed a platform for all those colleagues who are increasingly confronted with emergency diagnostic imaging in their every-day work. Before, European radiologists had to turn to the American Society for Emergency Radiology – the ASER – for support. In the USA, emergency radiology has a 25-year long tradition.’
Is the situation so different from that in the USA?
‘Yes, for several reasons. The organisational structures of the radiology societies, for example, and hospital infrastructure are different. In the US, emergency radiology developed in highly specialised trauma clinics, while in Germany we had to struggle hard for radiology to be integrated into the emergency department, the shock room and the operating theatre, and be acknowledged as a clinical discipline. In other European countries though there are very strong emergency radiology departments with hundreds of members – in Italy and Spain, for example.’
What are the ESER objectives?
‘We follow a process-oriented approach – which is a major innovation in radiology because the sub-specialty previously focused on anatomical or organ-specific issues. However, the emergency patient usually presents with a complex accumulation of medical issues. Here, process-orientation means that we develop a concept that maps all body regions, from the head through the chest and abdomen to the musculoskeletal system. We do not perceive ourselves as rivals of other specialists but want to bring together the specific resources in emergency radiology.’
Will you prepare guidelines?
‘We are currently developing a European textbook. In three volumes, this will cover all issues in emergency radiology. The first volume on abdominal imaging was published in 2012 by Springer; volume II will be on the chest and cardiovascular system; volume III on the head and spine. ‘We are also proud that the European Journal of Radiology introduced a dedicated section on emergency radiology. This is the first European specialty publication to provide regular space for emergency radiology issues.’
What would your one wish for the future be?
‘While ESER already has more than 200 members I’d be delighted if more German radiologists joined us so we can create a German section that represents emergency radiology competently on the national level.’
Private Docent Ulrich Linsenmaier MD PhD, attended medical school in Italy, Germany and the USA. In the latter he also worked in large trauma clinics. Today, the professor is Medical Director of the Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at the hospitals München-Pasing, München-Perlach and Augustinum München and teaches at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University.