Cuban Society of Angiology and Vascular Surgery

Authors: Mayda Quiñones Castro, MD; Jose Fernandez Montequín PhD, MD
Knowledge of vascular diseases and their surgical treatment emerged in Cuba in the 19th century with Dr. Nicolás José Gutiérrez Hernández who performed arterial surgery by ligating the femoral artery due to an aneurysm of the popliteal artery in 1841; later other surgeons performed some surgeries on the arterial system, isolated in time, and in this way angiology came to Cuba, especially in the field of arteriology, in 1940, without constituting a specialty, with a surgical predominance performed only by general surgeons without having an exclusive dedication.

Graduated as a doctor of medicine in 1941, Dr. Bernardo Milanés López (†), a specialist in internal medicine, was interested from the beginning in vascular diseases, but with a totally clinical approach; he was the one who sponsored the birth of the specialty in Cuba.

In 1952 he was appointed director of the “Lilia Hidalgo” hospital in Boyeros (today “Leonor Pérez”) and created the Vascular Diseases Unit, which was the first of its kind not only in the country but also in Latin America with the following particularities:
a) Domain of the clinic of vascular diseases.
b) Mastery of the technique and interpretation of diagnostic methods.
c) Mastery of the management of some very specialized therapeutics (vasoactive drugs and anticoagulants).
d) Mastery of minor surgery techniques.
e)  Sclerotherapy treatment of varicose veins.
f) Novocaine blocks of the sympathetic chain and peripheral nerves.
g) Intra-arterial therapy.
h) Treatment of trophic lesions of the extremities.

The 1st Arteries Bank of Latin America was founded in the same unit in 1956. As previously mentioned, the procedures related to surgery were performed by general surgeons who were interested in these diseases, 5 among them the general surgeon Dr. Jorge Benjamin Mc Cook Martínez (†).

On February 16, 1953, the Society of Angiology was created as a subsidiary of the International Society of Angiology (South American Chapter), however, it was not accepted by the Ministry of Justice of the time. In 1956 the III Latin American Congress of the International Society of Cardiovascular Surgery based in Havana was held; four years later (1960) the society fell into inactivity, and it was for this reason that Dr. Mc Cook assumes the responsibility of raising the specialty in the country combining medical practice with surgery, as well as calling for the prevention of peripheral vascular diseases. On August 13, 1962, by Ministerial Decree, angiology and vascular surgery was officially recognized as a medical-surgical specialty. The following year (1963), after the period of inactivity, the elections for the Society of Angiology were held and Dr. Jorge Mc Cook Martínez, for a period of four years until 1967. In this first stage, the Society is mainly dedicated to contributing with the education, training, improvement, and improvement of the professionals who formed and would form the ranks of the same.

The presidents of the Society were:
Dr. José Ángel Bidart Labourdette (†) from 1967 to 1970
Dr. Jorge Benjamin Mc Cook Martínez (†) from 1970 to 1975
Dr. Pedro Brunet Pedroso from 1975 to 1977
Dr. Enrique Uguet Bonet from 1977 to 1980
Dr. Miguel Ángel Martínez Griñán (†) from 1980 to 1982.
Dr. Rafael Castellanos Gutiérrez from 1982 to 1984
Dr. Jorge Benjamin Mc Cook Martínez (†) from 1984 to July 28, 1990, the date he passed away.
Dr. José Ignacio Fernández Montequín from 1992 to 2006
Dra. Juana Mayda Quiñones Castro from 2006 to 2015
Dr. Calixto Valdes Pere from 2016 to 2018
Dr. Osvaldo Eliseo Musenden from 2019

In 1971 the First National Angiology Conference was held in Havana, and the Society began, as part of another function, to organize congresses, conferences, seminars, workshops, seminars, round tables, colloquia, panels, and symposiums, scientific sessions, and courses related to the subjects of their specialty, according to their objectives.

The Cuban Society of Angiology and Vascular Surgery maintains scientific, social, and various kinds of relationships within the framework that corresponds to this type of association with:

The International Union of Angiology (IUA) where Cuba was a founder in the sixties and the Cuban delegate for more than twenty years was Dr. José Ignacio Fernández Montequín PhD, MD; now replaced by Dr. Aristides Lázaro García Herrera, PhD, MD.

The delegates Dr. Jorge Benjamin Mc Cook Martínez and Dr. José Ignacio Fernández Montequín held the positions of vice-presidents and vice-secretaries in the eighties and 2002, as well as the delegates for Latin America of this organization.

The Association of Vascular Surgeons of Latin America resurfaces after a congress held in Havana and occupies its The Association of Vascular Surgeons of Latin America resurfaces after a congress held in Havana, and Dr. José Ignacio Fernández Montequín occupies its presidency for two years; currently the delegate for Cuba is Dr. Calixto Valdés Pérez.

The Latin American Chapter of Phlebology and Lymphology, where Dr. Delia E. Charles-Edouard Otrante (†) held the vice-presidency and vice-secretary for many years, currently Dr. Juana Mayda Quiñones Castro and in lymphology Dr. Luis E. Rodríguez Villalonga.

The Cuban Society of Angiology and Vascular Surgery hosted several international events:
III Latin American Congress of the International Society of Cardiovascular Surgery (1953)
I Latin American Congress of the International Union of Angiology (1987)
XIX Latin American Chapter of Cardiovascular Surgery (1988)
II Pan American Congress of the International Union of Angiology (IUA)
1st International Workshop on Research in Atherosclerosis (1992)
XII Pan American Congress of Phlebology and Lymphology (2006)
I Congress of the Latin American Chapter of the International Society of Vascular Specialists (2007)

Some national events held to date:
I to VII National Conference of Angiology 1971 to 1984
I Caribbean Congress of Angiology and Vascular Surgery in 1984, which changed its name to ANGIOCARIBE (1995), which remains to this day with an international character and extension
Western Conference based in Matanzas, Havana and Pinar del Rio
Central Conference based in Santa Clara, Sancti Spíritus and Cienfuegos
Provincial Days in Camagüey, Ciego de Ávila, Las Tunas
National Symposium on Thromboembolic Diseases
News in Diabetic Angiopathy
Vascular microsurgery
Endovascular surgery of the carotid sector
Workshops on Diagnosis and treatment of hypercoagulability and thrombosis states; Vascular surgery; Veno-lymphatic diseases; Vascular hemodynamics
Aesthetic treatment of varicose veins; Sclerotherapy of varicose veins with microfoam
Chronic sub-diaphragmatic venous insufficiency and multiple other scientific activities throughout the country
The Cuban Society has currently the following Provincial Chapters: Pinar del Rio, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Camagüey, Holguín, Granma, Guantánamo, and Santiago de Cuba. These Chapters group their members by provinces to achieve unity and close working ties among all.

Today, the country has approximately 370 active specialists depending on the specialty. All of them are members of our society.

1. Gutiérrez Hernández NJ. Autobiographical notes. Havana: Ed. Academia; 1991.
2. Hernández Seara A. History of Angiology and Vascular Surgery in Cuba. Rev Esp Invest Quir. 2008; 11 (1): 45–9.
3. Statements Dr. Bernardo Milanés López. Diario de la Marina 1959, January: 3.
4. González Martínez H. Advances of science in Cuba. First Bank of Arteries in Latin America. Bohemia Magazine. 1955 October: 20–2.
5. Angiology in Cuba. Historical notes. Lecture read at the Western Day of Angiology and Vascular Surgery. Centennial of the “General Calixto García” Teaching Hospital, Assembly Hall of the “General Calixto García” Teaching Hospital, June 22, 1995.

Edited in: Havana, Cuba, December 2021.