Tribute to Tomislav Sosa


Vascular News was devastated to learn on 26 March 2006 of the death of Professor Tomislav Sosa, past-president of the European Society for Vascular Surgery (2002), from devoted friend and colleague, Dr Lidija Erdelez. Sosa died after a long fight against cancer. He knew he was dying and that nothing could be done. “It was a terrible way to go,” she commented.

Sosa pointed to his first scientific work, back in 1968, as one of the milestones in his career. He discovered one of the most important events in atherosclerosis, the rupture of the internal elastic membrane, and proved that some substances gather around this rupture and tend to migrate from media to intima.

In 1991, Sosa participated in advanced training in practice, theory and experimental work in vascular surgery at the Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York. “The most important step in my career was the teaching that I got from Frank Veith and his team in Montefiore Hospital, NY,” he said. Using this as an example, S?os?a emphasised that learning in vascular surgery never stops. “I use every European or US visit to learn some particularities through thought exchange with my friends; great experts in the vascular field.”

European Society for Vascular Surgery

However, it was his membership of the European Society for Vascular Surgery (ESVS) that changed Sosa’s outlook. “It sharpened my criticism and broadened my vascular views. I realised that Croatian vascular surgery is quite comparable with that of the rest of Europe.”

Through the ESVS experience, he actively participated in the European Society for Cardiovascular Surgery (ESCVS) and founded the Central European Vascular Forum (CEVF) with the aim of uniting all interested vascular surgeons in networks that think correctly for the benefit of the patient. Sosa also founded the Croatian Society for Vascular Surgery (CSVS) and said that through this he sought to gather various kinds of specialists i.e. anaesthesiologists, angiologists, interventional angioradiologists, ultrasonographers, cardiologists, nephrologists, immunologists, physiatrists, dermatologists, around vascular surgeons and “make the step forward in multidisciplinary understanding of the vascular problems, as well as to standardise the majority of indications and operative procedures in vascular surgery, thus giving the greatest benefit to patients and great savings for the country”.

He emphasised the important role that societies and congresses have to play in the dissemination of information. “They are the places where you can participate in discussions and ‘feel the pulse’ of today’s vascular surgery.”

During his tenure as President of the ESVS, Sosa said he wanted the European School of Vascular Surgery, projected to the particularities of every country and the continuous updating of guidelines. “Only through this will the society remain a focus for the career of the vast majority of young (and not so young) vascular surgeons and residents,” claimed Sosa.

All of us at Vascular News would like to extend our condolences to Sosa’s family and friends.