Minneapolis woman’s double lung transplant a success

MINNEAPOLIS — Chicago resident Albert Khoury and retired nurse and Minneapolis resident Tannaz Ameli share a lifelong bond and bond after life-saving surgery.

“I’m happy to see her sitting next to me,” Albert said.

“It’s something incredible,” Ameli added at a press conference on Wednesday.

Doctors at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago recently announced that they successfully performed a double lung transplant on a second patient with stage 4 lung cancer through a first-of-its-kind clinical program called “The Dream.” The first patient was Khoury; the second was Ameli.

“Lung cancer is the third leading cause of cancer in the United States, and it’s also the leading cause of cancer death in the country,” said Dr. Ankit Bharat of Northwestern Medicine.

Doctors performed a complete heart and lung bypass, before removing the lungs, a rare procedure due to the risks involved.

“It allows us to remove cancerous cells from the body, while minimizing the risk of cancer spreading during surgery,” he said.

As Khoury received her transplant in September 2021, Ameli struggled with a persistent cough. In January 2022, the retired nurse visited a major health care system in Minnesota where they confirmed she had stage 4 lung cancer. When chemotherapy treatments did not help and hospice was recommended, Ameli’s husband contacted the second opinion program at Northwestern Medicine Canning Thoracic Institute. Because Ameli’s cancer was confined to the lungs and had not spread to other parts of the body, the 64-year-old was listed for a transplant and received new lungs within 10 days on the 13 July 2022.

“He’s a tough person and a survivor too. It’s not easy coping with surgery,” Khoury said.

“If it wasn’t for the brilliant doctors and all the care I’ve had, the first thing the doctor said to me was, ‘I can make you cancer free,’ and that’s what everyone wants to hear,” Ameli said.

Both are now grateful for their second chance in life.

“It’s worth it and I hope all cancer patients can be lucky like me and Albert were,” Ameli said.

Patients interested in being evaluated for a lung transplant can contact the referral line at 844.639.5864. For more information on Northwestern Medicine’s lung cancer and lung transplant programs, as well as advanced therapies, visit the link here.

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