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Thoracopagus conjoined twins: a case report.
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MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21660094     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Objective. Conjoined twin is a rarely seen congenital anomaly together with severe mortality and morbidity. The more common types of conjoined twins include the thoracopagus type, where the fusion is anterior, at the chest, and involves the heart. We are reporting one case of conjoined thoracopagus twins diagnosed by ultrasonography at 11 weeks. Case Report. In a multigravid pregnant woman who has been admitted to our clinic with a diagnosis of conjoined twins, thoracopagus, by ultrasonography at an 11-week gestation, termination of the pregnancy was performed. Conclusion. Making an early diagnosis with ultrasonographic examination gives the parents a chance to elect pregnancy termination.
Authors:
Mehmet A Osmanağaoğlu; Turhan Aran; Süleyman Güven; Cavit Kart; Ozgür Ozdemir; Hasan Bozkaya
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2010-11-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  ISRN obstetrics and gynecology     Volume:  2011     ISSN:  2090-4444     ISO Abbreviation:  ISRN Obstet Gynecol     Publication Date:  2011  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-06-10     Completed Date:  2011-07-14     Revised Date:  2011-08-01    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101558763     Medline TA:  ISRN Obstet Gynecol     Country:  Egypt    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  238360     Citation Subset:  -    
Affiliation:
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon 61080, Turkey.
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Journal Information
Journal ID (nlm-ta): ISRN Obstet Gynecol
Journal ID (publisher-id): OBGYN
ISSN: 2090-4436
ISSN: 2090-4444
Publisher: International Scholarly Research Network
Article Information
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Copyright © 2011 Mehmet A. Osmanağaoğlu et al.
open-access:
Received Day: 21 Month: 9 Year: 2010
Accepted Day: 3 Month: 11 Year: 2010
Print publication date: Year: 2011
Electronic publication date: Day: 28 Month: 11 Year: 2010
Volume: 2011E-location ID: 238360
ID: 3099464
PubMed Id: 21660094
DOI: 10.5402/2011/238360

Thoracopagus Conjoined Twins: A Case Report
Mehmet A. OsmanağaoğluI1*
Turhan AranI1
Süleyman GüvenI1
Cavit KartI1
Özgür ÖzdemirI1
Hasan BozkayaI1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Karadeniz Technical University, Trabzon 61080, Turkey
Correspondence: *Mehmet A. Osmanağaoğlu: drmaosmanaga@gmail.com
[other] Academic Editor: S. San Martin

1. Introduction

Conjoined twins represent one of the rarest forms of twin gestation. They occur in roughly 1 in every 200 identical twin pregnancies and are always identical. The incidence ranges from 1 in 50 000 to 1 in 100 000 live births [1]. Because this situation carries high risk, early diagnosis and management of delivery is extremely important. The role of ultrasound in early diagnosis and management are discussed.


2. Case Report

A 31-year-old multigravid woman was referred to our university hospital at an 11-week gestation because of a conjoined twin (thoracopagus) diagnosed by ultrasonography. Her last menstrual date was unknown. She had no personal or family history of twins. Sonography was performed and two fetuses with 2 arms, 2 legs, and 2 heads were visualized. The twins were joined at the thorax and upper abdomen. There was a single umbilical cord, and only one fetal heart was observed (Figure 1). The placenta was localized anteriorly, and one artery and one vein were seen in the umbilical cord. On the basis of these findings, the diagnosis of terata anacatadidyma, thoracopagus, conjoined twins was made (Figures 2(a) and 2(b)), and the parents were informed about the malformation and the twins' poor chance for survival. The parents decided to terminate the pregnancy. A written informed consent was taken from the family, and the termination of pregnancy was approved by the Medical Ethics Committee. The next two days, after induction of labor with prostaglandin, a vaginal delivery of the conjoined twins was achieved without complication.


3. Discussion

Conjoined twins are classified according to the most prominent site of conjunction: thorax (thoracopagus), abdomen (omphalopagus), sacrum (pygopagus), pelvis (ischiopagus), skull (cephalopagus), and back (rachipagus). Depending on the aspect of the embryonic disc, the most common types are thoracopagus (19%) [3] (Table 1). Its etiology is unknown, but an incomplete division of the zygote between 13th and 15th days after fertilization probably occurs [4]. The overall survival rate for conjoined twins is approximately 25% [5]. The condition is more frequently found among females, with a ratio of 3 : 1 [4]. Two theories have been proposed to explain this observation: the process of X-inactivation overlaps with the timing of monozygotic twinning and thus may directly contribute to development of monozygotic twins, and the XX karyotype may confer a survival benefit [2].

Two contradicting theories exist to explain the origins of conjoined twins. The traditional theory is fission, in which the fertilized egg splits partially and conjoined twins represent delayed separation of the embryonic mass after day 12 of fertilization. The second theory is fusion, in which a fertilized egg completely separates, but stem cells (which search for similar cells) find like-stem cells on the other twin and fuse the twins together [4, 6, 7]. Conjoined twins share a single common chorion, placenta, and amniotic sac, although these characteristics are not exclusive to conjoined twins as there are some monozygotic but nonconjoined twins that also share these structures in utero [4, 6].

Early diagnosis of conjoined twins was previously reported, but not before the 10th week of gestation [8]. On careful transvaginal sonography and serial scanning, there appears to be an inability to separate between the anatomical parts of the fetuses. Once conjoined twins have been diagnosed, characterization of the type and severity of the abnormality can be performed with ultrasound, three-dimensional ultrasound, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging [9, 10]. Termination of pregnancy can be offered to the family. In the present study, the diagnosis has been performed in the first trimester, and because the family has chosen termination of this pregnancy, further diagnostic intervention has not been considered. Surgery to separate conjoined twins may range from relatively simple to extremely complex, depending on the point of attachment and the internal parts that are shared. Most cases of separation are extremely risky and life-threatening.

In conclusion, conjoined twins are associated with a high perinatal mortality; therefore, making an early diagnosis with ultrasonographic examination of conjoined twins gives the parents a chance to elect pregnancy termination.


Acknowledgment

This manuscript is presented as a poster at the VIII. National Gynecology and Obstetrics Congress, Antalya, Turkey, 2010.


References
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2. Chitnis S,Derom C,Vlietinck R,Derom R,Monteiro J,Gregersen PK. X chromosome-inactivation patterns confirm the late timing of monoamniotic-MZ twimmingAmerican Journal of Human GeneticsYear: 199965257057110417301
3. Schnaufer L. Raffensperger JGConjoined twinsSwenson’s Pediatric SurgeryYear: 19804th editionNew York, NY, USAAppleton Century-Crofts910920
4. Abossolo T,Dancoisne P,Tuaillon J,Orvain E,Sommer JC,Rivière JP. Early prenatal diagnosis of asymmetric cephalothoracopagus twinsJournal de gynécologie, obstétrique et biologie de la reproductionYear: 19942317984
5. Stone JL,Goodrich JT. The craniopagus malformation: classification and implications for surgical separationBrainYear: 200612951084109516597654
6. Spencer R. Theoretical and analytical embryology of conjoined twins: part I: embryogenesisClinical AnatomyYear: 2000131365310617886
7. Spencer R. Theoretical and analytical embryology of conjoined twins: part II: adjustments to unionClinical AnatomyYear: 20001329712010679855
8. Hubinont C,Kollmann P,Malvaux V,Donnez J,Bernard P. First-trimester diagnosis of conjoined twinsFetal Diagnosis and TherapyYear: 19971231851879313079
9. Kuroda K,Kamei Y,Kozuma S,et al. Prenatal evaluation of cephalopagus conjoined twins by means of three-dimensional ultrasound at 13 weeks of pregnancyUltrasound in Obstetrics and GynecologyYear: 200016326426611169294
10. Kingston CA,McHugh K,Kumaradevan J,Kiely EM,Spitz L. Imaging in the preoperative assessment of conjoined twinsRadiographicsYear: 20012151187120811553825

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