Lives of the fellows

John Jordanoglou

b.7 May 1934 d.28 November 2014
MB BS Athens(1958) MD(1964) PhD Lond(1967) FRCP(1996)

John Jordanoglou was professor of chest medicine at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He was born in Athens, the son of Basil Jordanoglou, a physician, and Paraskevi Jordanoglou. He attended high school in Athens and then studied medicine at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, qualifying in 1958 and gaining his MD in 1964. He specialised in internal medicine and trained under D Gardikas at the Evangelismos Hospital, Athens.

In 1964 Jordanoglou went to London, where he remained for four years. At Hammersmith Hospital and King’s College Hospital he received further training from a number of excellent teachers, including J G Scadding [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XI, p.501], Phillip Zorab [Munk’s Roll, Vol.VII, p.630], Peter Stradling [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web] and Philip Hugh-Jones [Munk’s Roll, Vol.XII, web]. In 1967 he gained a PhD from the University of London for his research on the movement of the ribs in healthy persons and patients with lung disease. With mathematical calculations he arrived at conclusions that were opposed to the perceptions current at that time.

In 1968 he returned to Greece, becoming a senior registrar at the Evangelismos Hospital, Athens. In 1977 he became a consultant and director of the respiratory centre at the Evangelismos Hospital. In 1979 he was elected professor of chest medicine and in 1981 he became director of the pulmonary medicine department at Sotiria Hospital.

At the Evangelismos Hospital he organised and headed a fully equipped laboratory of lung function, where a large number of patients were examined, including those who were to be operated on for chest and heart conditions. During that time he was head of a team solving problems in the physiology and pathophysiology of breathing. At the same time he supervised doctoral dissertations of several young doctors. He was well-versed in physics, mathematics and engineering, and was, therefore, in a position to investigate difficult problems of physiology of breathing using original mathematical models. Through mathematical calculations, he was able to prove that the distensibility of the lung may be determined by a simple, non-invasive method, avoiding the use of oesophageal catheters. The correctness of his theory was later confirmed by its application in humans.

Another important field of his research concerned the study of flow-volume curves. By studying the flow-volume curves with a simple, rapid method, he found that the type of functional disorder of various lung diseases can be specified. From 1981 onwards, Jordanoglou was involved in investigating two further issues related to the physiology of breathing, firstly the early detection of the dysfunction of small airways using a sensitive index, the so-called effective time (teff) in patients with chronic obstructive lung diseases, and, secondly, the non-invasive but accurate determination of alveolar gases in groups of patients with airway obstruction, using a significant novel technique, determining the alveolar gases with mathematical calculations based on a sample of exhaled air from the patient who is breathing tidally.

Jordanoglou was hardworking, methodical, unselfish, gentle and approachable, with excessive modesty and impeccable ethics. He was a source of inspiration for the many talented young scientists that he attracted. Jordanoglou was the ideal type of modern pulmonologist, manifesting a complete balance in clinical, laboratory and research fields. He was a real, true physician according to the Hippocratic ethos. He devoted himself with passion to the profession throughout his whole life; he wanted nothing more than to offer his services with sincerity and selflessness. He was our ‘professor’, although most of us who worked with him also considered him family, our ‘spiritual father’. He always looked after and cared for us and our families.

Jordanoglou was married twice and had three children, Vassilios, Marina-Paraskevi and Klisthenis.

Nikolaos G Koulouris

[Pneumon 2015, 28(1):99-100 – accessed 24 May 2015]

(Volume XII, page web)

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