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San Diego Twins Recover From Rare Heart Transplants

Twin brothers Eric and Raul Montaño expressed gratitude Tuesday after both received heart transplants within the last two months at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.

"I just want to say thank you to the doctors for everything that they did for us," said Raul who is 11 years old. "They've been so amazing."

The brothers' 8-year-old cousin also received a heart transplant. The boys suffer from a genetic heart condition.

In the case of the brothers, their condition got to the point of limiting their ability to participate in sports and play with friends, said their mother, Alma Mundo.

"We all have it, some of us — it’s not that complicated like our kids, but it runs in the family," Mundo said. "We're so thankful that my nephew got it done last week and he's doing great too. His recovery is amazing."

Daniel DiBardino, a surgeon at Rady Children's Hospital, said the program is new to San Diego. There have been five heart transplants at the hospital in the last nine to 10 weeks."

"We can now do it all," DiBardino said. "That's a good feeling."

Cost for the surgeries is estimated at $1 million for each operation. The brothers' transplants were paid for by donations to the hospital.

The United Network for Organ Sharing estimates about 3,000 people are on the wait list for a new heart at any given time, but only 10 percent of these operations are done on children.


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