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Alyssa Sandeen finds match, undergoes same-day heart transplant

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KMSP) -

Last fall, 23-year-old Alyssa Sandeen's heart was failing and doctors had put her in a medically-induced coma after performing over two hours of CPR. She's been waiting for a new heart ever since, and on Thursday, she received news of a match and went into surgery at 4:30 p.m. that day.

Her father Chris Sandeen says he's relieved the wait is finally over.

"So emotional. You get all teary eyed and choked up. So excited for her. She's been waiting so long in hopes of a second heart transplant for her," he said.

Sandeen has been hoping and praying for another donor heart for his daughter since her first one started to fail back in November when doctors briefly put her in a drug-induced coma.

They got the call before noon and within hours, Alyssa Sandeen was surrounded by family and friends giving high fives as she was wheeled into surgery to replace her heart for the second time.

"She was pretty excited. She yelled out to the other patients, ‘I got my heart!'" her father said.

"She doesn't seem like she's scared. She had moments where she would tear up. But she's not scared because she's been through this before," her sister Racheal Sandeen said.

In fact, it was 15 years ago that Alyssa had her first heart transplant at the ripe old age of 8 after her own heart collapsed from cardiomyopathy, a disease that caused it to swell to four times its normal size.

Three years ago, Alyssa had to have a kidney transplant because the anti-rejection drugs she was taking for her heart were damaging her kidneys.

"We are blessed and lucky. She's very strong and a trooper. She's handled it pretty well. For all the stuff she's been through," Racheal Sandeen said.

Now, at 23, Alyssa is getting yet another chance at life, and she hopes her third heart will be her charm.

"Appreciation to the donor family they are going through a tough time right now, but their loved one will be living on through Alyssa," Chris Sandeen said.

Alyssa went into surgery around 4:30 Thursday afternoon -- the procedure takes 6 to 8 hours.

After that, she'll be in the hospital for a couple of weeks and won't be able to leave Rochester for three months and will go in for daily checkups at the Mayo Clinic.

For more update's on Alyssa's progress, visit http://alyssasandeen.com/updates.html

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