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Obituary: Joseph J. Billadello, director of Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center, 65

Cardiologist had passion for treating adults living with congenital heart disease

August 14, 2018

Joseph J. Billadello, MD, a professor of medicine and director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Aug. 8, 2018, in St. Louis following a long battle with multiple myeloma. He was 65.

Billadello came to Washington University in 1981 as a cardiology fellow and later joined the faculty of the School of Medicine, where he remained over his long career, caring for patients with heart disease, especially adults living with congenital heart disease. In addition to his role as director, he held several leadership positions in organizations focused on providing care for individuals born with heart defects who survive to adulthood and require specialized care.

“Joe’s career encompassed basic science investigation, interventional cardiology and a passion for treating adults with congenital heart disease,” said Victoria J. Fraser, MD, the Adolphus Busch Professor and head of the Department of Medicine. “His leadership of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program culminated in the designation of the Washington University program as an accredited comprehensive care center by the Adult Congenital Heart Association, one of only a few such centers in the nation. Joe was passionate about patient care, and that is reflected in the quality of care he and his colleagues provided.”

Added Douglas L. Mann, MD, the Tobias and Hortense Lewin Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Diseases and director of the university’s Cardiovascular Division: “Dr. Billadello’s passion, energy and expertise in adult congenital heart disease were remarkable. He was the consummate physician and teacher.”

Billadello earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1973 and his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1978. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Duke University before coming to Washington University for a fellowship in clinical cardiology. He also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in Washington University’s Department of Biological Chemistry, training that was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Billadello was a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and an established investigator of the American Heart Association.

He is survived by his wife, Guadalupe Sanchez, MD; mother, Julia “Peggy” Billadello; sister, Joan Quinn; daughter, Laura Billadello, MD; and son-in-law, Michael DeVita, MD.

The family held a private gathering Aug. 11 to celebrate his life.

Memorial contributions may be made to: Washington University; Fund for Adults with Congenital Heart Disease, No. 34779; Attn: Rachel Hartmann; Campus Box 1247; 7425 Forsyth Blvd.; St. Louis, Mo. 63105.