Spain emerges out of wildernessto match elite in Europe

December 14, 2009

One of the major changes in European radiology during the past decade has been the emergence of Spain as a strong global force.

One of the major changes in European radiology during the past decade has been the emergence of Spain as a strong global force. Spain now has a good share of international experts, particularly in the fields of MRI, interventional radiology, and chest imaging. The prominent role played by Spanish presenters at many large congresses, including the scientific exhibitions at both the RSNA meeting and the ECR, confirms this.

This is in stark contrast to the situation that existed before 2000, when most Spanish radiologists preferred meetings conducted in their own language. Those who presented at English-speaking conferences often appeared to lack confidence, particularly when answering questions at the end of their lectures.

The European Journal of Radiology published a comprehensive special issue on Spain in September 2008. In an article about Spanish radiology in the second half of the 20th century, Dr. J. Bonmatí noted that for many years the country lagged behind its European neighbors. Radiological practice was unregulated, performance of x-ray examinations by nonradiologists was common, and teaching of radiology was nonexistent in medical schools.

“The diagnostic value of the specialty was unrecognized by physicians and the role of radiologists ignored. Most hospital radiology services were poorly equipped and functionally inadequate,” Bonmatí wrote.

The turning point was the inclusion of film-reading sessions in the 1965 academic program of the Spanish Society of Radiology. Radiological cases started to be discussed at multidisciplinary meetings, and the profile of clinical radiology gradually increased in scientific meetings and training programs. By the end of the century, radiology in Spain was able to match the standards of other Western nations, Bonmatí noted.

The EJR's special issue, edited by Prof. Luis Martí-Bonmatí from Valencia, who is an active member of DI Europe's Editorial Advisory Board, contained an impressive selection of clinical articles that amply demonstrated how far Spanish radiology has come.

Our regular readers will be aware that we have published a steady flow of invited submissions from Spain during the past few years. In this issue, a group of authors from Oviedo discuss how advanced MR techniques like perfusion imaging and spectroscopy are helping to distinguish between radiation necrosis and tumor recurrence. This enlightening overview on a hot topic underlines the expertise of today's generation of radiologists.

Furthermore, Spanish hospitals and clinics are helping to pioneer PACS and teleradiology. In the Big Picture column on the final editorial page of the issue, you can read about the future of teleradiology from an ultraprogressive U.K. practitioner who has established the Telemedicine Clinic in Barcelona.

We very much look forward to publishing further submissions from Spain and elsewhere during 2010. In the meantime, on behalf of everyone at DI Europe, I wish you all the very best for the holidays.