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In memoriam - Professor Hugo Ector

Professor Hugo Ector was a pacing pioneer in Europe.

As Chair of the European Working Group on Cardiac Pacing he participated in the creation of the European Heart Rhythm Association through the merger with the European Working Group on Arrhythmias.

He passed away at age 76 on 21 April, 2020.


Hugo Ector was born in Elsene, Belgium, on 19 August, 1943. He obtained his degree in Medicine at the University of Leuven in 1968. In 1984, he obtained a PhD in Cardiology with a dissertation thesis entitled "Permanent cardiac pacing".

In 1988, he was appointed as Clinical Head at the University Hospitals Leuven and Professor at the University of Leuven. He was a dedicated clinician, and focused early on in his career on the emergent subdiscipline of electrophysiology: he loved evaluating electrocardiograms and vectorcardiograms, was one of the first to implant pacemakers in Belgium and Europe, and he performed the first ablation procedures in Belgium, which consisted of DC His bundle ablations.

Professor Ector was founder and chairman of The Belgian Working Group on Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology for many years. He later became secretary and chairman of the European Working Group on Cardiac Pacing from 1993 to 1995. With others, he initiated the merger with the European Working Group on Arrhythmias which later became the European Heart Rhythm Association. He can thus be considered one of the founding fathers of EHRA.

He was an Associate Editor of the European Heart Journal and was a member of the editorial board of many other international journals. He was Editor-in-Chief of Acta Cardiologica, the official magazine of the Belgian Society of Cardiology. His scientific cardiological publications dealt with arrhythmias, cardiac stimulation and syncope. He introduced and protmoted tilt training as a new therapy for vasovagal syncope, jokingly blaming himself that he had invented an effective therapy that in fact does not cost anything. Until after his retirement in 2008, he coordinated the registration of pacemaker procedures in Belgium and Europe.

Em. Prof. Hugo Ector was organiser or co-organiser and chairman of many international symposia. A highlight was the Europace meeting in Ostend in 1993, which had 1,450 participants, including King Baudouin as special guest.

Hugo Ector leaves behind his charming wife Jacqueline, a physician herself, who took steadfast care of Hugo at home over the last years when his health was declining, and until his very last moments. Hugo has two sons, both cardiologists, one of which is following his footsteps and became a Professor of Cardiac Electrophysiology.

Professor Ector will be remembered as a driven, competent, and very compassionate clinician. He was a charming and thoughtful colleague and mentor, with a philosophical appreciation of what was going on around him, often leading to one-liner statements that caught everyone off guard. Many will remember his sense of humor, his drive for justice and his affable interest in every patient and colleague.

Many colleagues in Flanders, Europe, and beyond will gratefully remember Professor Hugo Ector for his inspiring teaching in the many facets of cardiac pacing, electrophysiology and syncope management. The EHRA community will remember him forever as one of our founding fathers.


Read this personal tribute from his friend and first EHRA President, Prof. Lukas Kappenberger.