Dawn of a new Era (1931-1970)

After first individuell steps radiology became step by step a scientifically accepted discipline. Please find some pioneers of the traditionell age in alphabetical order.


Néstor Azambuja
*February 8th., 1920, Salto, Uruguay

Azambuja built in Montevideo (Uruguay) one of the most important schools of neuroradiology in Latin America. He described “central ventriculography”, an important tool for the diagnosis of posterior fossa tumors in the pre-CT era. He advocated the use of small quantities of air, injecting no more than 30 cm3 without removing CSF. This technique was called “fractional pneumoencephalography”.


Carlos Gómez del Campo

* ?, Potosí, Mexico
† ?, Mexico

Carlos Gómez del Campo performed in 1948 the first coronariographies giving contrast material into de ascending aorta via an intercostal puncture.


Ian Donald
* December 27, 1910, Liskeard, Cornwall, England
† June 19, 1987, Paglesham, Essex, England

Ian Donald was the pioneer of obstetric ultrasound. Using A-mode equipment he studied the lumps, cysts, and fibroids to differentiate them from the solid masses in the body. He published his results in 1958 in The Lancet. Together with Tom Brown he developed a portable apparatus that could be used on patients.


Domingo Liotta
* November 29th., 1924, Diamante (Province of Entre Rios), Argentina

Liotta, who begun his career as a surgeon with Pablo Mirizzi, introduced in 1954 hypotonic duodenography, for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and disease of the Vater’s ampulla region. The next year he published a paper in Lyon, France, where he went to specialized as a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon.
He is much more known by his works on the artificial heart, which he did along with Denton Cooley and Michael DeBakey in Houston in the 60s.

Now, he is Dean of the School of Medicine of the University of Morón, in the Province of Buenos Aires.


Claudio Valdagni
Radiologist, Radiotherapist
August 31,1919 Pergine Valsugana, Trento (Italy) – …

Claudio Valdagni played a fundamental role in the development of the oncological and radiotherapic activity in Italy, but also in Europe, in the 1950s. After graduating in medicine and surgery at the University of Padua (Italy),he specialised in radiology and became director of the Radiological Unit of the San Lorenzo hospital in Borgo Valsugana (Trento, Italy). Here, the first Telecobalt Therapy Unit (type Eldorado-A) of Italy and of Europe was installed in 1953, opening the way to the high energy Co60 teletherapy in Europe.


(Genova 1899 – Genova 1987)

When he was only 26 years old, he invented a new method with dual contrast media, gas and barium, for the radiological study of the stomach. In the year 1930 at the IX Congresso Nazionale di Radiologia, in Turin, he presented a new method for obtaining the radiological image of a single layer of a body: a method that was called by himself “stratigraphy”. In the year 1947 he was the first in the world to obtain, with traditional X Rays devices and X-ray film, an “axial transverse stratigraphy”. In the year 1962 the subcommittee ICRU-IV-6, (composed by Watson, De Vulpian, Stieve, Ziedes des Plantes, and by Vallebona himself) stated that the radiological technique employed to obtain radiologically an axial section of the human body ought to be called “Tomography”.
(Adapted from F. Bistolfi, “Alessandro Vallebona”, Fisica in Medicina, n.2/2005, pp.115 – 123)