MANUEL VIAMONTE, JR., MD: "Lymphographer-Lymphologist-Radiologist Extraordinaire" - Co-Founder of the International Society of Lymphology, March 19, 1930 - January 15, 2019

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Dashingly handsome and charismatic, radiologist and Cuban emigre Manuel Viamonte, MD brought the excitement of the "invisible" and inaccessible lymphatic system to the attention of the international medical and scientific community as he "conspired' with co-founder Alois Ruttimann in 1966 to launch a new discipline, organize international congresses to bring together clinicians and basic scientists, and form an international society to encourage collaborations and sharing of knowledge (and ignorance) about the lymphatic system. This new discipline they named "lymphology" - the study of lymph, lymphatics, lymph nodes and lymphocytes in health and disease, and 27 International Congresses (and many, many more satellite conferences) have been held since. The 2nd International Congress in the famed Miami Beach, Florida Fontainbleau Hotel, held in 1968 when Dr. Viamonte was ISL's second President and President of the Congress, was a truly memorable event intellectually, organizationally, and socially. The journal Lymphology was founded at that same time. During the last half century, interest in all aspects of the lymphatic system - from genes to field work - has grown exponentially and expanded in many different directions and disciplines. Nonetheless, an emphasis on "imaging" the lymphatic system - from the initial lymphatic capillaries through to the central collectors - has remained a continuous theme progressing from direct oil contrast lymphography primarily used to stage lymphomas to multimodal imaging using gamma ray, light, heat, sound, X-ray, magnetism, and electricity as sources of energy to make the invisible system more visible and accessible to basic science investigators and clinicians approaching a wide variety of lymphatic and multisystem processes and disorders. "Manny" left lymphology a little more than a decade after founding the discipline knowing that the field was on its own solid trajectory. He turned his efforts to make major contributions to angiography generally focusing on arteries and also veins throughout the body and on multimodal imaging, resulting in hundreds of peer reviewed publications in leading medical journals as well as books, atlases, and patents, providing continuing education to radiologists throughout the world particularly in Latin America. He continued his advocacy on behalf of Cuban emigres throughout his life. In his latest years, he contributed to the founding and administration of Florida International University. He also traveled the world over searching for the secrets to long life visiting and interviewing centenarians in their local communities while also stressing the values of a spiritual life in his writings. It was during this latter period, that Manny returned to Tucson. Over a sumptuous "pago frito" dinner in a local Mexican restaurant, we reflected on the growth of lymphology and particularly lymphatic imaging since its birth in Davos, Switzerland. He was pleased to see that lymphology had nonetheless retained the pioneering collaborative spirit of its original founders and discoverers. His was a life well lived.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-204
Number of pages3
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Hematology

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