Nicole Draper, Michael Draper, Nate Draper, Nick Draper
Nick Ut  /  AP file
Nicole and Michael Draper hold their 10-month-old twin boys Nate, left, and Nick at a news conference at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center on May 25.
updated 5/26/2006 11:47:10 AM ET 2006-05-26T15:47:10

A 10-month-old twin boy born with a potentially fatal heart condition improved so dramatically that he was released from the hospital Thursday without the transplant he was awaiting.

Nate Draper’s remarkable recovery surprised and puzzled doctors treating him at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. Dr. Mark Plunkett called the baby’s comeback “close to a miracle.”

Nate and his twin, Nick, were born with a condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy, which caused their hearts to swell and barely pump blood. It’s an extremely rare condition in newborns and even more so for twins.

Last year, the Draper brothers were transferred from their Phoenix hometown to Los Angeles where they awaited new hearts. Nick received a transplant in February.

A month ago, doctors noticed marked improvement in Nate’s heart function. He was recently taken off intravenous medication and no longer needs a transplant.

“His heart is now strong enough to support himself,” said Dr. Juan Alejos, medical director of UCLA’s pediatric heart transplant program.

While doctors still don’t know how the boy recovered, they say his condition was most likely not as severe as his brother’s.

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