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Hopkins expert on cholesterol and heart disease dies at 74

A professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins who was an authority on lipid disorders and advocate for routine cholesterol screening in children died Friday of prostate cancer at the age of 74, Hopkins officials said.

Peter O. Kwiterovich Jr. founded the Johns Hopkins Lipid Clinic in 1972, leading it until his retirement earlier this year. Kwiterovich saw more than 2,000 patients a year at the clinic, which helped researchers compare biochemical and genetic data across generations, according to Hopkins.

Kwiterovich's work focused on familial lipid disorders, inherited traits of abnormal fat metabolism, high cholesterol and early-onset heart disease. He helped define the normal amount of cholesterol in children and his research led to new treatments for heart disease, Hopkins officials said. Prior to his research, heart disease associated with high cholesterol was deemed mostly a problem among adult men, but Kwiterovich showed that coronary artery disease begins early in life.

George Dover, the pediatrician-in-chief at Johns Hopkins and director of the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, called Kwiterovich a "true giant" in the cardiovascular disease field.

"His work transformed our understanding of fat metabolism and lipid malfunction and the role they play in fueling premature heart disease," Dover said in a statement.

Visitation will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 19, and from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Ruck Funeral Home, 1050 York Road in Towson. A funeral mass will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 North Charles St. in Baltimore.

Arrangements are pending for a memorial service at Johns Hopkins.

cwells@baltsun.com

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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