January 1978

Assessment of the Cardiovascular System in Conjoined Thoracopagus Twins

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics (Division of Cardiology, Radiology, and Surgery, the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto (Drs Izukawa, Moes, Simpson, and Shandling); the Department of Pediatrics, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Drs Tyrrell and Ives); and the Department of Pediatric Cardiology, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore (Dr Kidd).

Am J Dis Child. 1978;132(1):19-24. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1978.02120260021002

• The thoracoomphalopagus conjoined twins comprise 75% of all conjoined twins. In the assessment of the organ systems of the twins, the cardiovascular system is important since union of this system in the twins has occurred in 75% of the cases. Of the five cases reported here, two had separate hearts and vessels with a common pericardium only. Two twins were joined at the right atrial level. The fifth pair were connected at both atrial and ventricular levels. It has been suggested that the presence of two separate QRS complexes in the ECG indicates complete separation of the two hearts. Case 4 shows that even in the presence of atrial union, the existence of an atrioventricular block in one twin may produce a very slow heart rate, while the other twin may have a normal rate that will not influence the ventricular rate of the other. In our experience, angiocardiography has been the most useful diagnostic procedure.

(Am J Dis Child 132:19-24, 1978)