Vincent Louis DeQuattro, MD, FACP, FACC
Vincent Louis DeQuattro died tragically on August 17, 2001, while snorkeling along the coast of Maui. He was born in Lawrence, Mass. His father was an Italian immigrant, and his mother was Irish immigrant. He completed high school at Pasadena Junior College in 1950. In 1955, he completed his master of science in the Pharmacology and in 1960 he obtained his medical degree, both at George Washington University.
He did his internship/residency at Los Angeles County General Hospital. Between 1962 and 1963, he did a fellowship in hypertension-related cardiovascular disease at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. From 1964 to 1966, he was a clinical investigator at the Experimental Therapeutic Branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda under Albert Sjoerdsma.
His first faculty position was in 1970 as an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Southern California, where he rose to full professor of medicine in 1978. From 1974 to 1981, he was chief of Seventh Floor Medical Complex at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, and from 1978 until his death, Dr DeQuattro was the chief of the hypertension service at the same Institution.
Between 198l and 1982, he performed a fellowship in cardiovascular disease in the Section of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, and since then he had been a practicing cardiologist as well as internist.
He was a member of several societies, including the Advisory Board of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research of the American Heart Association, American Society of Hypertension, American Federation of Clinical Research, American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, International Society of Hypertension, and Inter-American Society of Hypertension. He served on the Fourth and Sixth Joint National Committees on Detection, Evaluation, Prevention, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure.
Dr DeQuattro dedicated most of his career to studying the role of the sympathetic nervous system in the pathophysiology of hypertension. While at NIH, he developed his interest and expertise in measurements of plasma catecholamines by a double-radioenzymatic method. He used this assay to make the original and pivotal observations (published in J Clin Invest. 1967;47:2359–2373 and in Lancet. 1972;1:806–809), that ≈30% of patients with essential hypertension manifest biochemical evidence of increased sympathetic nervous system activity. Subsequently, several other laboratories confirmed this observation with more direct techniques. He had a special interest in the diagnosis and management of pheochromocytoma, and the large majority of patients with this condition in the Los Angeles area were referred to him for diagnosis and management. Dr DeQuattro published >145 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 42 chapters in books.
Dr DeQuattro was an outstanding teacher and speaker. He loved to lecture to his colleagues and enjoyed the challenge of scientific argument. He was an outstanding teacher at the bedside. He had a very deep understanding of internal medicine, and students and house officers were very impressed by his knowledge, empathy, and sense of human participation. His patients simply adored him. He was engaging, personable, and always concerned for their well being; the patients felt his humanistic qualities, his concern, and his engagement. His cheerful and noisy laugh was sometimes better than any remedy he could provide.
On a personal note, Dr DeQuattro enjoyed life, always to the fullest extent. He loved to ski the powder snow of Vail or Mammoth Lakes, enjoyed hiking in the Sierra, loved playing tennis, and always could be convinced to join in for a hearty meal and a bottle of good Italian wine. His personal touch, friendliness, and concern for others made him a unique individual. With these humanistic qualities, he touched the life of many of us. His laugh was his best foil: it was loud, crackling, contagious, and devastating for any adversary. For us, he was a personal, close friend to count on no matter what.
We all miss him, and he will long be remembered by colleagues, students, and personnel who worked close to him. But more importantly he will be missed by a very large number of patients who relied on his care, his dedication, and his wisdom to carry them through adversities.
Dr DeQuattro loved to conclude his lectures with Mussolini’s dictum: “Better to live one day like a lion than live 100 years like a lamb.” Vince DeQuattro lived like a lion and died like a lion.