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'They had to untangle my stomach from my lungs': Man thanks Northwick Park Hospital surgeon for life-changing operation

The surgeon untangled his stomach from his lungs and described it as one of the most complex operations he'd ever done

Paul O'Reilly stomach and bowel were wrapped around his heart

A 59-year-old whose stomach and bowel was wrapped around his heart has thanked the west London surgeon who carried out the life-changing operation.

Paul O'Reilly, of Egham, Surrey, was diagnosed with a hiatus hernia after years of agonising symptoms before being helped by Mr Alberto Isla, a Northwick Park Hospital surgeon.

After an operation at his local hospital left him feeling “even worse”, Mr O'Reilly said he was petrified of undergoing further surgery.

“I was petrified of going near a hospital again,” he said.

“But I was very lucky that my GP referred me to Northwick Park Hospital because by this point it was becoming hard to even breathe.

“I couldn't walk upstairs without getting out of breath and I couldn't eat or drink properly.”

Mr O'Reilly was referred to laparoscopic upper gastrointestinal surgeon Mr Isla, who sent him for a range of scans and tests.

Mr O'Reilly's surgeon said it was one of the most complicated procedures he's ever done

He added: “Mr Isla was absolutely brilliant, so different to my previous experience.

“It was like being a private patient in the NHS, he showed me the results of all the scans and said we needed to get it sorted very quickly.”

Scans taken at the hospital showed that Mr O'Reilly's stomach and part of his colon were stuck in his chest, which led him to undergo keyhole surgery in November 2016.

Mr Isla described the procedure at Northwick Park Hospital and said it was one of the most complex procedures he has ever done.

“We had to deflate both of Paul's lungs in order to untangle his stomach from them and then untwist his intestine which was stuck to his heart," he said.

“After placing the organs back into the abdomen, we were left with a large hole in the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. This had to be fixed and we used a special mesh to close the hole.”

Mr O'Reilly has extended thanks to Mr Isla for changing his life

Paul spent five days in hospital following the operation but is now back at work and on the golf course again.

“My life has now changed completely," he said.

"I can now play golf again and am walking the full 18 holes; before I couldn't get around without a buggy.

“I've been told it'll take a year or so for everything to completely settle down but I appreciate Mr Isla being upfront about what to expect and I'm getting better and better each day.

“I've even managed to keep off the stone and a half I lost, although I can't say I would recommend a hiatus hernia as the best way to do it."

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