Huesman, Longest Surviving Heart Transplant Patient, Dies

Tony Huesman

Tony Huesman, 52, of Washington Township, Ohio died Sunday August 9 from cancer. He was the longest-surviving single-graft heart transplant patient in the United States.

Huesman received his heart transplant 31 years ago when the procedure was still considered experimental. The procedure was done at Stanford University Hospital in August 1978 by Norman Shumway, M.D.

Huesman received his heart transplant after being diagnosed with viral cardiomyopathy as a sophomore high school student. Interestingly, his sister Linda Lamb was also a heart transplant patient. Lamb received hers in 1983 and lived until 1991.

Huesman went on to found the Huesman Heart Foundation whose mission is to reduce heart disease by educating children. The Foundation also funds the Lindy Nursing Scholarship in memory of his sister Linda.


He is survived by his wife Carol Huesman.

Viral infection of the heart is relatively common, usually asymptomatic and most often has a spontaneous and complete resolution. It can, however, in rare cases, lead to substantial cardiac damage: development of viral cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.

Viral cardiomyopathy is defined as viral persistence in a dilated heart. When this happens the heart becomes weakened and enlarged. It cannot pump blood efficiently.

The most frequent cardiotropic viruses detected by endomyocardial biopsy are Parvo B19, enteroviruses, adenoviruses, cytomegalovirus, and less frequently Epstein-Barr virus, and influenza virus.

Huesman Heart Foundation
Dayton Daily News
National Institute of Health