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Heart Transplant Patient Stories

Our patient stories profile those who have had heart transplants at UPMC. Although everyone’s care experience is unique, we hope that sharing these stories will help prospective patients and their families better understand these procedures and their potential impact on patients’ lives.

Note: These patients' treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

Bob Shoup

Bob Shoup and his wife, Lauri.

 

It was during hunting season in 1985 when Bob Shoup, then 27, started experiencing fatigue and shortness of breath. A few days before Christmas, Bob’s arm went numb, and he couldn’t speak — signs of a stroke.

Several weeks passed and Bob still had no energy, he couldn’t walk across the room without loss of breath.  A chest x-ray revealed that his heart was enlarged due to congestive heart failure.

Over the 27 years since his initial heart transplant, Bob has been able to lead a primarily healthy, normal life, and watch his family grow—something he wasn’t always sure would be possible.

» Read Bob's story.

Tom Meshanko

Donna and Tom Meshanko

 

In 1997, Tom Meshanko experienced some chest soreness and tingling in his left arm.

Knowing his family had a history of heart disease, he went to see his doctors at UPMC Shadyside right away. Doctors told him he’d had a heart attack and his heart had suffered massive damage.

Since his transplant, Tom has remained active, participating in the Transplant Games of America, and even took a hot air balloon ride.

» Read Tom's story.

Mary Ann Wahl

Mary Ann Wahl

 

Prior to a life-changing transplant at UPMC Presbyterian, Mary Ann Wahl’s heart condition prevented her from experiencing the many joys of raising her daughter, Katy.

These disappointments and struggles were caused by restrictive cardiomyopathy — a disorder in which the heart chambers are unable to fill properly with blood because of stiffness in the heart.

After a three-month recovery period, she felt fantastic, began walking four miles a day, and made plans to embrace life with her husband, Bob, and, of course, her daughter.

» Read Mary Ann's story.

Ben Collins
Ben Collins

In 1995, Ben Collins, a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh, noticed that he was having increasing difficulty going up a flight or two of stairs at the Cathedral of Learning.

After a thorough evaluation, doctors discovered Ben had ventricular tachycardia, a condition that resulted in his heart racing at dangerously high rates. 

Since his transplant, Ben has recovered nicely and taken up running, and participated in many races.

» Read Ben's story.

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