Prominent heart surgeon Dr. Christos Lolas, who performed the first heart transplant operation in Greece in 1990, has died in a car crash in an Athens highway at the age of 80.
His body was pulled out of his wrecked car, in the Athens – Sounio highway when it collided with a car coming from the opposite direction. His wife, Claudia, also on board, was pulled out seriously injured.
Christos Lolas was born in Kozani and studied medicine at the University of Thessaloniki, where he specialized in general surgery. Thereafter, he further specialized for five years in cardiac surgery at the Medical School of the University of Oregon, U.S.A, and was appointed as Associate Professor.
He returned tο Greece after the fall of the military dictatorship in 1974 and was entrusted with organising and running the Cardio-Surgical Unit of the Aretaieon Hospital.
He was also appointed Lecturer and then Associate Professor of the University of Athens. In 1986, he has appointed Head of the Cardiac Surgery Department of Evangelismos Hospital, where he continued to carry out his clinical and scientific work while training young surgeons.
In 1990, after he performed the first successful heart transplant in Greece, he inaugurated a cardiac transplant program in Greece.
He had written several books and published numerous articles in scientific and other journals and in newspapers. He had been a member of several Greek and foreign societies, served as President of the Greek Society for Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and took part in medical missions to the Balkan states and to China, where he performed heart operations.
One of his most important non-medical activities was athletics. A former basketball player for Thessaloniki’s Aris club, he became an amateur golfer and served as president of the Glyfada Golf Club.
Dr. Lolas played an active role in Athens’ bid to host the Olympic Games, both at the Golden Olympics in Tokyo and in the successful bid for the Olympic Games in 2004 in Lausanne. He served as vice president of the Medical Scientific committee of the ATHOC 2004.