Abbas Eqbal Kitabchi Ph.D, M.D.

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File:Abbas Eqbal Kitabchi.jpg
Abbas Eqbal Kitabchi
Abbas Eqbal Kitabchi
Abbas Eqbal Kitabchi.jpg

Dr. Abbas Eqbal Kitabchi (August 28, 1933 – July 18, 2016)[1][2] was recognized internationally as an expert on pathogenesis and management of diabetic ketoacidosis. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists adopted his regimen for treatment of hyperglycemic crisis, considering it "the gold standard" of care.[2] In 1968, he joined University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and the Memphis Veteran Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) as Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Education at the Memphis VAMC (1968–1972), He was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UTHSC College of Medicine, where he served as Division Director of Endocrinology, 1968–2009, and as Director of UTHSC from 1973 to 1991. An active clinician, educator and researcher, he conducted numerous landmark clinical trials, participated in the education of many students, residents and fellows, and authored over 300 original publications.[1]

Pioneering work[edit]

Dr. Kitabchi pioneered a therapy for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) using low dose insulin, providing solid guidelines for the ADA and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The treatment he championed has become the standard therapy for DKA, adopted by physicians worldwide. In the United States prior to 1980, the mortality rate for DKA was in excess of 15%, but by using his elegantly simple approach, the mortality rate ultimately fell to 1%.[1]


Dr. Kitabchi was the principal or co-principal investigator for four multi-center National Institutes of Health-sponsored studies (Diabetes control and complications trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and ComplicationsDipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor/Diabetes Prevention Research Group, Look Ahead and GRADE) and was principal investigator for numerous medical grants. Author of over 300 articles, book chapters and journal reviews, Dr. Kitabchi had a passion for travel and other cultures and often took advantage of opportunities for teaching and speaking around the world.[3]


Dr. Kitabchi's family at the time of his death in 2016 included his wife of 19 years, Lynn; four daughters: Karen Hale of Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Kathy Fullerton of St. Louis, MO, Kelly Pfrommer of Memphis, TN, and Karly Vitello of Birmingham; two stepdaughters: Carissa Shumaker of Olive Branch, MS, and Blake Elizabeth Means of Memphis, TN; a sister, Parvin Jahrome; a brother, Mohammad Kitabchi; eight grandchildren: Adam Hale, Sarah and Paul Fullerton, Hannah and John Michael Pfrommer, Mariella, Isla, and Amelia Shumaker; 2 great-grandchildren: Ben and Jacob Fullerton; and many nieces and nephews. His closeness with his family gave him a drive to dedicate his life to helping, nurturing and mentoring others. He instilled in his daughters his life-long love of learning, and enjoyed many family-oriented activities, such as cooking Persian food, with them, as well as with many close friends. In both his personal and professional life, he marked everything he did with love and a dedication to excellence.[1]


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