Organ-centred medical specialties have flourished during the last 50 years. This focus on the role of the heart, the lung and the kidney in human diseases by a new breed of clinicianinvestigators stimulated the growth of patho-physiological and clinical knowledge at an unprecedented rate and produced major benefits to patients. Organ transplantation, artificial organs, cardiovascular and renal drugs are all products that owe much to the strength of scientific structures built upon organ-centred medical specialities. These specialties still retain and will likely maintain considerable heuristic potential in the foreseeable future. Yet, it is widely perceived that recent discoveries spurred by the deciphering of the human genome, the development of new technologies allowing simultaneous monitoring of disparate metabolic systems, progress in cell biology 1 as well as the tremendous progress in telecommunications and in clinical informatics all tend to attenuate the inter-specialty borders as they are perceived now 2.
This new scenario has facilitated blossoming of inter-speciality areas where professionals and clinical investigators and basic scientists alike look at disease with a fresh integrative approach.
The borders circumscribing nephrology and cardiovascular medicine have always been permeable and nephrologists and cardiologists can boast a long tradition of side to side collaboration. The various national and international societies focusing on hypertension like the European Society of Hypertension, the American Society of Hypertension and the International Society of Hypertension represent an expression of the intellectual strive of nephrologists, cardiologists and endocrinologists to investigate by a shared approach a condition that cuts deep across these medical specialities.
The emergence of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) as a public health priority3, a phenomenon that has materialized during the last decade, is one of the most challenging problems of modern medicine. It is now solidly established that renal dysfunction portends a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular diseases remains the main cause of death in western societies and the amplification of the death risk conveyed by coexisting CKD, even though still poorly understood, appears considerable. The bidirectional link that associates renal and cardiovascular diseases, the high risk of the death signalled by their coexistence - which goes beyond BP and classical risk factors4 - and the considerable epidemiological burden imposed by this link is at the basis of the emerging of a new discipline aiming at making the borders between nephrology and cardiovascular medicine even more permeable than before. Cardio-Nephrology or Nephro-Cardiology societies (the designations betraying the original organ affection of the proponents) have already been started. The relevance of this border-territory is now fully captured in the scientific program of major nephrology and cardiology societies with presentations focusing on the theme having a prominent time-sharing in the meetings organized by these societies.
To respond to the to the ongoing changes in medicine and in science, the ERA-EDTA has recently launched an initiative aimed at promoting collaboration between nephrologists and other specialists on themes of major clinical and scientific interest. This initiative poses the creation of working groups (WG) - i.e. the concerted effort of groups of interested professionals to work together to achieve specific clinical, scientific and educational goals - as a central means for fostering advancement in Renal Medicine and allied sciences.
The ERA-EDTA has a large basis of clinicians and investigators interested in the relationship between the kidney and the cardiovascular system. At the last ERA EDTA Congress in Stockholm in 2008 (Figure 1) 10 free communications sessions and 12 poster sessions were mostly composed by presentations directly or indirectly connected to themes focusing on the kidney–cardiovascular system link. Overall there were 356 presentations describing findings relevant to the study of this link.
The large interest on this theme-area among the ERA EDTA membership was the basis for a group of clinical investigators with an interest in the field (Gérard Michel London, Adrian Covic, Danilo Fliser, David Goldsmith, Bengt Lindholm, Alberto Martinez, Gultekin Suleymanlar, Andrzej Wiecek and Carmine Zoccali).
The council approved this WG and ratified the proposal by the original nucleus to name Carmine Zoccali as the first WG chairman. Carmine Zoccali was then replaced as Chairman by Gérard Michel London in February 2012 and, according to the WG regulations 6 of the original members were replaced in April 2013 and April 2014 (see the section Members to visualize the current Board composition).