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The European Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy (1982–2012): 30 Years Strong
  1. André A.J. van Zundert, MD, PhD, FRCA, EDRA, FANZCA* and
  2. John A.W. Wildsmith, MD, FRCA, FRCPEd, FRCSEd, FDSRCSEng
  1. *Department Of Anesthesiology, ICU & Pain Therapy, Catharina Hospital-Brabant Medical School, Eindhoven, the Netherlands; and †Emeritus Professor Of Anesthesia, University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom.
  1. Address correspondence to: André A.J. van Zundert, MD, PhD, FRCA, EDRA, FANZCA, Catharina Hospital-Brabant Medical School, Michelangelolaan 2, 5623EJ Eindhoven, the Netherlands (e-mail: zundert{at}


Abstract Inspired by the earlier establishment of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia, but with a structure to accommodate the diverse languages and health care systems of Europe, the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia (ESRA) held its first scientific meeting in 1982. During the following 30 years, ESRA grew from strength to strength and implemented a number of important educational initiatives, the story of these developments being the subject of this review. ESRA’s prime function is to publicize the evidence on regional anesthesia and encourage its further development, but it also led the way in democratizing European anesthesia societies by being the first to open its membership to all. A recent revision of the constitution has further increased the society’s democratic nature.

Educationally, activities grew from a single annual congress to include zonal meetings, cadaver workshops, a major online program, and collaborations (guidelines and conferences) with other societies. Finally, the introduction of a Diploma qualification in regional anesthesia was an entirely novel project.

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  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

    No funds other than departmental or personal were used in preparation of this manuscript.

    The following individuals contributed to this article on behalf of the Heritage Group of the European Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Therapy: Alain Borgeat, MD, PhD, EDRA; José De Andrés, MD, PhD, EDRA; Slobodan Gligorijevic, MD, EDRA; Giorgio Ivani, MD, PhD, EDRA; Narinder Rawal, MD, PhD, EDRA, FRCA; Harald Rettig, MD, PhD, EDRA; Athina Vadalouca, MD, PhD; and Marc Van De Velde, MD, PhD, EDRA.

    Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

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