Surgeon performed Illinois' first heart transplant in 1984
MAYWOOD, Ill. -- A memorial Mass will be said Friday, Nov. 12, for former Loyola University Hospital cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Roque Pifarré, a pioneer in heart transplants and other cardiac surgeries."Dr. Pifarré had a profound impact on Loyola's heart program and he will be greatly missed," said Dr. Paul Whelton, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System.
Under Dr. Pifarré's leadership, more than 25,000 cardiac procedures were performed at Loyola. Dr. Pifarré performed Loyola's first heart transplant in 1984. He also performed a heart-lung transplant in 1986 and placement of a Jarvik-7 artificial heart in 1988.
"He was not afraid to try new things or new approaches to help his patients," said Dr. Mamdouh Bakhos, chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Loyola. "Dr. Pifarré had confidence in his ability, and with good reason. He was one of the most accomplished surgeons I have known."
Another colleague, retired cardiologist Dr. Rolf Gunnar, said, "It always was a delight to send patients who needed surgery to Dr. Pifarré, because I was confident the outcome would be successful."
Dr. Gunnar, who was chairman of the Department of Medicine at Loyola, said Dr. Pifarré also was a great teacher. "He taught by example and trained many wonderful surgeons, including my son," Dr. Gunnar said.
Dr. Pifarré died June 21 in Barcelona, Spain. He was 80.
Dr. Pifarré was born Aug. 20, 1929 in Lleida, Spain. His interest in biological sciences began in high school. He earned his medical degree from Barcelona University Medical School in 1953. Dr. Pifarré completed his internship at St. Mary's Hospital in Hoboken, N.J., and his residency in general surgery at Prince George's General Hospital in Cheverly, Md.
Dr. Pifarré completed a fellowship in cardiovascular surgery at Georgetown University and earned a MSc degree from McGill University in Montreal. Dr. Pifarré had an appointment in surgery at Georgetown before joining Loyola as chief of the section of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery in 1969. Under Dr. Pifarré's leadership, the section became the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.
In 1978, Dr. Pifarré received the Civil Merit Award from King Juan Carlos of Spain for outstanding contributions to the field of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery. In 1982, Dr. Pifarré received the Stritch School of Medicine's highest honor, the Stritch Medal.
In 1983, Dr. Pifarré was listed as one of Chicago magazine's Top 40 Doctors. In 1995, he was the first to be named the George M. Eisenberg Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences at Loyola. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and Canada's Royal College of Surgeons. He retired from Loyola in 1996.
The many honors Dr. Pifarré received never went to his head. "He was a humble, down-to-earth guy," Dr. Bakhos said. "He was very nice and very gentle, and his patients loved him."
Dr. Pifarré is survived by his wife, Teresa; one brother, Pere, and one sister, Joana.
A memorial Mass for Dr. Pifarré will be said at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, in the Paul Galvin Memorial Chapel in Loyola University Hospital, 2160 S. First Ave., Maywood.
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, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It 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 264-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.