Rady's First Pediatric Heart Transplant Patient Heads Home

The 11-year-old boy was discharged 12 days after his surgery.

An 11-year-old boy who received the first-ever pediatric heart transplant at Rady Children's Hospital is now heading back home

Eric Montañoleft the hospital Tuesday after his 12-day stay, recovering from a pediatric heart transplant that took place about two weeks ago.

"Thank you," said a tired-looking Montaño as he was wheeled from the hospital. "Thank you everyone," his mother joined in.

Now the boy's heart is working perfectly, doctors say. Still they'll need to monitor him to make sure there are no complications, so he'll be visiting the hospital twice a week for the foreseeable future.

The hospital and its surgeons say they performed the hospital's first pediatric heart transplant after they got word that a heart became available for Montaño.

The young boy needed the surgery because he had restrictive cardiomyopathy, a condition that meant the walls of his heart got stiff and limited the heart from filing with blood properly. Eric’s twin brother also has a similar condition and is still on the transplant list, waiting for a heart.

“Thank you for my new heart,” Montaño, of San Diego, said through tears at a press conference at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego last week.

Among the team to do the procedure were Dr. Eric Devaney, his transplant surgeon, and Dr. Rakesh Singh, his transplant cardiologist.

At the emotional press conference about the surgery, Montaño’s mother, Alma Mundo, started crying as she thanked the hospital and her son’s team.

“There’s no words, I can’t express myself…I’m sorry,” Alma Mundo said through tears. “My son is returning to having a new life and a new heart and I’m just so grateful and thankful.”

The surgery marks the first time the hospital in Southern California was able to provide that procedure to pediatric patients such as Montaño. Previously, Rady Hospital's pediatric patients had to travel to Los Angeles to receive a heart transplant.

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