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The World Heart Federation was originally formed in 1978 by a merger of the International Society of Cardiology (ISC) and the International Cardiology Federation (ICF), which became the International Society and Federation of Cardiology (ISFC). In 1998 the ISFC changed its name to the World Heart Federation.

The ISC was founded in 1946 as a professional scientific organization with a membership of national societies of cardiology. The ICF was set up in 1970, composed of heart foundations around the world, with the purpose of supporting international research, professional and public education, as well as community programmes.

In 1996, an agreement between UNESCO, World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Heart Federation instigated ongoing cooperation on different projects such as the prevention of rheumatic fever and heart disease, Chagas' disease and risk factors in school-age children in developing countries. Joint projects are continuously under way. The World Heart Federation is now recognized by the World Health Organization as its leading NGO partner in cardiovascular disease prevention and is a close partner of the World Health Organization's department of Noncommunicable Diseases.

In 1998, the Board agreed to change the name of the ISFC to “World Heart Federation”. Since then, the organisation has kept growing to become a corner stone of the cardiovascular health field. The Federation is now working with more than 200 members around the world.

Historic Timeline

•    1944: The basis and structure of ISC – the International Society of Cardiology was designed in Mexico by Ignacio Chavez.
•    1946: During the 2nd InterAmerican Society of Cardiology meeting, Ignacio Chavez presented a motion to create the International Society of Cardiology (ISC) – the predecessor to WHF. On October 11 1946 the charter of the first International Council of Cardiology was signed; this charter lay the foundations of the ISC and the organizing, four years later, of the first World Congress of Cardiology (WCC)
•    1950: The First World Congress of Cardiology (WCC) was held in Paris. WCC was then held every 4 years until 2006 when it became biennial
•    1957: The International Cardiology Foundation was founded in Chicago Illinois by P.D White and L.N.Katz
•    1966: The International Society of Cardiology had grown to 3 continental members and 51 national societies. ISC created 8 new scientific councils to replace the old committee structure
•    1969: ISC created its first Committee on education which closely cooperated with WHO
•    Sept. 1969: 34 representatives from 15 national Heart foundations, associations, societies and leagues of cardiology met in Geneva to discuss an organizational framework of an International Cardiology Federation (ICF)  to succeed the existing International Cardiology Foundation  (also ICF) and to acknowledge the long term support from the original ICF
•    1970: The International  Cardiology Federation (ICF) was created at the General Assembly held during WCC London
•    1974:  During the ISC General Assembly at WCC Buenos Aires, the decision was taken to eventually merge the ISC and ICF
•    1978: ISC & ICF merged to become the International Society and Federation of Cardiology (ISFC)- the direct predecessor to WHF
•    1996: UNESCO and WHO officially recognised ISFC  with special status
•    1998: ISFC board approved the change of name to World Heart Federation (WHF)
•    2000: WHF launched World Heart Day as an annual event on the last Sunday of each September
•    2005: WHF take on the global promotion of the Go Red For Women campaign under license and on behalf of the American Heart Association
•    2006: WCC Barcelona was held jointly with ESC. Last WCC was held on four year cycles
•    2008: WCC Buenos Aires was the first WCC to be held on a two year cycle
•    2011: The UN Historic declaration on NCDs – changing  the global approach to NCD’s  of which CVD is the greatest contributor. WHF was instrumental in achieving this UN declaration
•    2013: World Heart Day (now fixed on Sept 29 each year) reached over 1 million participants for the first time, through over 1000 global events
•    2013: WHF board adopted the UN and WHO targets for CVD- launching the 25 x 25 campaign to reduce premature death from CVD by 25% by 2025

Presidents of the World Heart Federation

1978-80    John F. Goodwin (founder of ISCP, a merger of ISC & ICF)
1981-82    Henry N. Neufeld
1983-84    Thomas N. James
1985-86    Paul Puech 
1987-88    Chuichi Kawai 
1989-90    Mario R. Garcia-Palmieri 
1991-92    Wilhelm Rutishauser         
1993-94    David T. Kelly            
1995-96    Elliot Rapaport
1997-99    Antonio Bayes de Luna
1999-00    Tak-Fu Tse
2001-02    Mario F.C. Maranhao
2003-04    Philip Poole-Wilson
2005-06    Valentin Fuster
2007-08    Shahryar A Sheikh
2009-10    Pekka Puska
2011-12    Sidney C. Smith Jr
2013-14    Srinath Reddy
2015-16    Salim Yusuf
2017-18    David Wood

World Congresses of Cardiology

WCC 1950 Paris (Sept 3-9) 1,200 attendees
WCC 1954 Washington (Sept 12-17) 1,800 attendees
WCC 1958 Brussels (Sept 14-21) 3,000 attendees

WCC 1962 Mexico City (Oct 7-13) 4,500 attendees from 52 countries
WCC 1966 New Delhi (Oct 30 - Nov 5) 1,000 attendees. The first WCC held outside the American or European continent.

WCC 1970 London (Sept 6 - 12) 6,000 attendees
WCC 1974 Buenos Aires (Sept 1-7) 10,000 attendees

WCC 1978 Tokyo (Sept 17-23) 5,000 attendees –  and for the first time a programme for nurses in addition to cardiologists offered
WCC 1982 Moscow (June 20-26) 5,000 attendees

WCC 1986 Washington (Sept 14-19) 6,000 attendees
WCC 1990 Manila (February 11-16) 6,000 attendees

WCC 1994 Berlin (September 10-14) 21,000 attendees (held jointly with ESC)
WCC 1998 Rio de Janeiro (April 25-30) 14,000 attendees

WCC 2002 Sydney (May 5-9) 9,000 attendees
WCC 2006 Barcelona (Sept 2-6) 32,500 attendees (held jointly with ESC)

WCC now moves from a 4-year to a 2-year cycle

WCC 2008 Buenos Aires (May 18-21) 17,000 attendees
WCC 2010 Beijing (June 16-19) 10,245 attendees
WCC 2012 Dubai (April 18-21) 10,700 attendees

WCC 2014 Melbourne (May 4-7) 6,020 attendees

WCC 2016 Mexico City (June 4-7 )