Top Cardiologist Joins Loyola

News Archive April 02, 2009

Top Cardiologist Joins Loyola

Dr. John Lopez Named Director of Interventional Cardiology Research and Co-Director of Heart Attack Rapid Response Team
MAYWOOD, Ill. -- One of the nation's top researchers in catheter-based treatments for heart disease has joined Loyola University Health System as director of interventional cardiology research. "Loyola has a very vibrant cardiology program, and it is by far the busiest academic center in the region," said Dr. John J. Lopez, a professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Lopez also is co-director of Loyola's new Heart Attack Rapid Response Team (HARRT). An interventional cardiologist and other members of the HARRT team will be on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to perform emergency balloon angioplasties on heart attack patients. Loyola is the only hospital in Illinois to have such a team on site 24/7. If done in time, a balloon angioplasty can stop a heart attack in its tracks and limit damage by opening up a clogged artery. The HARRT team will provide more immediate treatment on nights and weekends because cardiologists, nurses, technicians, etc. will not have to be called in from home. "This is a phenomenal opportunity to treat patients faster, and to evaluate the benefits of this approach," Lopez said. "Loyola will be a regional center for this type of care." Lopez comes to Loyola from the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was director of interventional cardiology, the interventional cardiology fellowship program and the cardiac catheterization laboratory. He has been an investigator in more than 50 clinical trials in interventional cardiology related to drugs, stents and other devices, gene therapy, angiogenesis, intravascular imaging, atrial appendage closure devices and peripheral and structural heart devices. An interventional cardiologist uses a catheter (thin tube) to do such procedures as diagnostic angiograms, balloon angioplasties and stent placements. Lopez has done more than 10,000 cardiac catheterization procedures. Lopez's research interests include studies of the safety and effectiveness of coronary stents -- devices that keep arteries open following balloon angioplasties. Lopez also is using intravascular ultrasound imaging techniques to look at blockages and study how heart disease progresses, with 3-D modeling and techniques to characterize cholesterol blockages. His clinical interests include treatment for advanced coronary disease and chronic angina, as well as catheter-based treatments for structural heart problems such as atrial septal defects. Lopez also plans to work with the experienced group of interventional cardiologists at Loyola to attract cutting-edge trials in interventional cardiology, including an upcoming trial of cell-based therapy for heart attack patients. Patients' bone marrow stem cells will be extracted and delivered intravenously to repair damaged heart muscle. Lopez, 46, lives in west suburban Hinsdale with his wife and three children.
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.
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