Two-Time Heart Transplant Recipient Improving As She Battles Rejection

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(Rochester, MN) – While she remains hospitalized, the Mankato native who’s undergone two heart transplant surgeries is improving as she battles rejection issues.

According to an update from family, an echocardiogram on Monday showed that Alyssa Sandeen’s heart function has improved, going from 26% to now 46%. Still, she’ll continue to receive Rituximab, which is one of the major anti-rejection medicines. Sandeen has been at the Mayo in Rochester since experiencing problems on September 3rd.

“She still has shortness of breath due to her heart being so enlarged, this is because of the heart rejection, but hopefully once her body stops rejecting her recent Donor Heart, it will go back down to it’s original size,” said Sandeen’s father.

Sandeen underwent her first heart transplant at the age of 8. The donor was a five-year-old boy who died after being hit by a truck.

Sandeen’s second heart transplant took place in 2013. The donor was Katlyn Leekley of Jesup, Iowa, who was 20-years-old when she was killed by a drunk driver.

(Katlyn Leekley)

Last August, Sandeen met Leekley’s family and gave them a teddy bear with a recording of her/Katlyn’s heartbeat, made at MCHS Mankato with a specialized stethoscope, speaker and recording device.

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