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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 63  


Director of HH Publications and Executive Coordinator for Research; Director, Non-Invasive Cardiology (1981 -2014); Heart Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Date of Web Publication15-Nov-2014

Correspondence Address:
Rachel Hajar
Director of HH Publications and Executive Coordinator for Research; Director, Non-Invasive Cardiology (1981 -2014); Heart Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Hajar R. Farewell. Heart Views 2014;15:63

How to cite this URL:
Hajar R. Farewell. Heart Views [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Dec 7];15:63. Available from: https://www.heartviews.org/text.asp?2014/15/3/63/144778

Prof. dr. Jos R.T.C. Roelandt - pioneer and giant in the field of echocardiography - died on August 31, 2014. The cardiology and echocardiography world mourn his passing. We honor his memory.

His son called my husband to inform us of his passing. News of his death was a great shock to us. He was our true friend as well as my mentor.

The first time my husband and I met Dr. Roelandt was in 1976, when he came as a visiting professor at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Centre (UOHSC) in Portland, OR, USA where my husband and I did our medical and cardiology training. I had special training in echocardiography under the tutelage of Dr. Roelandt. At the time he came, echocardiography was in its infancy. The fellows at UOHSC learned echocardiography from Dr. Roelandt and close friends simply called him, "Jos".

I have fond memories of the echocardiography sessions with Jos, me sitting on his left and Hajar, my husband, on his right. I remember the room clearly - narrow and rectangular and at one end was a window with a rectangular table where we sat reviewing. On the table, rolls of dry silver paper individually tied with rubber bands were scattered. They had reminded me of the parchment rolls of antiquity, before the invention of printing.

Dr. Jos Roelandt peppered our echocardiography sessions with historical vignettes in cardiology. I still see him in my mind's eye, thoughtfully perusing dry silver papers on which were inscribed ultrasound messages from the heart, highlighting a diagnostic point, clarifying and explaining the grammar and syntax of cardiac ultrasound, and narrating fascinating anecdotes from the pages of history. I often think of those wonderful sessions with Jos. He was the best teacher I ever had.

When my husband established the cardiology department in Qatar, Dr. Roelandt came to Qatar to help us set up non-invasive cardiology and the echocardiography laboratory, giving valuable advice especially on training non-invasive laboratory technicians from scratch because in those early years it was almost impossible to recruit people with such background to Qatar. Over the years, as the field of echocardiography advanced, he came to Qatar to give us tips on new echocardiography techniques as they evolved. I shall always be indebted to Jos for his valuable advice and suggestions.

Besides being a pioneer and innovator in echocardiography, Professor dr. Jos Roelandt is the godfather of clinical echocardiography. He tirelessly promoted the development and use of real-time cross sectional imaging 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 in valvular and prosthetic valve disease, cardiac catheterization is rarely performed anymore.

Jos R.T.C Roelandt received his M.D. degree magna cum laude from the University of Leuven in 1964. He specialized in internal medicine and cardiology at the same university and at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. He joined the Thoraxcentre in Rotterdam in 1969, obtaining his PhD degree cum laude from the Erasmus University Rotterdam where he became professor in cardiology. He was chairman of the Department of Cardiology of the Thoraxcentre, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam from 1987 until 2004, after which he was honorary chairman.

He started research in clinical echocardiography at the Thoraxcentre. Dr. Roelandt is the recipient of numerous awards for his pioneering work in cardiac ultrasound and delivered numerous prestigious lectures around the world. He was the Founding Editor of the European Journal of Echocardiography and editor-in-chief from 1999 to 2010. He served on the Editorial Board of numerous major cardiology journals and has authored and co-authored over 1000 scientific papers and 19 textbooks (of which I am the recipient of many!) The copies that he gave me will always be treasured editions in my collection.

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.

The death of Jos R.T.C. Roelandt is a great loss to cardiology, in particular to us the non-invasive cardiologists and echocardiographers. We shall always remember him.

I will end up with 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.


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