The origin of the International Society of Electrocardiology can be traced back to what was known as the ColloqiumVectorcardiographicum, which was a relatively small conference first held in Wroclaw in Poland in 1959. The meeting was held in Eastern Europe until 1967, when it was held in Austria at which point the number of attendees increased significantly. The meeting was held in New York in 1970 and, for example, Yerevan in Armenia, in 1973. At this meeting, it was proposed to change the name of the meeting to the International Congress on Electrocardiology (ICE).
A "Permanent Programme Committee" was formed under the chairmanship of Professor Pierre Rijlant, Chairman of the World Congress of Cardiology held in Brussels in 1958, and an enlarged organising group was formed. The first ICE was held in Wiesbaden in 1974 and was attended by most of the leading electrocardiographers of the day, including Ernst Simonson and Otto Schmitt (of Schmitt Trigger fame). Thereafter, meetings continued to take place alternately in Eastern and Western Europe, as well as Japan. Indeed, 350 individuals participated in the Tokyo meeting in 1982 and the Permanent Committee met the family of the Emperor of Japan on that occasion.
The term Permanent Programme Committee was felt to be unsatisfactory and in 1983 in Bratislava, the International Council on Electrocardiology was formed. A more formal committee structure was established, and Ivan Professor Ruttkay-Nedecky from Bratislava was appointed the first President, a post which could be held for two years.
Ten years later in 1993, the International Council established the International Society of Electrocardiology (ISE) and a Constitution was drawn up. ISE is now a recognised charity operating under the laws of Scotland. The 1993 meeting was therefore another milestone in the history of the group.
Meetings have continued annually until now, although more recently, there has been an agreement with the International Society for Holter and Non Invasive Electrocardiology (ISHNE) that annual meetings should be shared with each Society taking the major organising role in alternate years. The future therefore looks to be that meetings of ISE and ISHNE will be held jointly and annually.
Peter Macfarlane, July, 2021