Pediatric Cardiology

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 252–257

Conjoined Hearts in Thoracopagus Twins

  • R. Thomas CollinsII
  • Paul M. Weinberg
  • Peter J. Gruber
  • Martin G. St. John Sutton
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00246-011-0125-3

Cite this article as:
Thomas Collins, R., Weinberg, P.M., Gruber, P.J. et al. Pediatr Cardiol (2012) 33: 252. doi:10.1007/s00246-011-0125-3


This study aimed to identify the anatomic and pathologic structural cardiac abnormalities in conjoined twins and to focus on those that have prevented the successful separation of conjoined hearts. A retrospective review was undertaken to examine consecutive cases of thoracopagus conjoined twins with conjoined hearts evaluated at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 1 January 1980 through 6 October 2008. The records included autopsy and surgical findings as well as clinical reports. The study group included nine sets of conjoined twins with a mean gestational age at birth of 33.8 ± 5.5 weeks. Three twin pairs were stillborn. Five twin pairs died afterward. One pair died of cardiopulmonary failure. The median age at death was 22 days (range, 0–345 days). Major congenital heart disease was present in 94.4% (17/18) of the hearts, and 72.2% (13/18) of the hearts had single-ventricle physiology. Total anomalous pulmonary venous return occurred in 39% (7/18) of the cases. The clinical outcome for thoracopagus twins with conjoined hearts remains poor because of inability to separate conjoined and single ventricles. Surgical nonintervention and palliative care should be strongly considered for these patients.


Conjoined hearts Conjoined twins Thoracopagus 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Thomas CollinsII
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul M. Weinberg
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
    • 8
  • Peter J. Gruber
    • 4
    • 8
  • Martin G. St. John Sutton
    • 7
    • 8
  1. 1.Division of CardiologyArkansas Children’s HospitalLittle RockUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsThe University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  3. 3.Division of CardiologyThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Division of Cardiothoracic SurgeryThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyThe Children’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  7. 7.Division of CardiologyHospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  8. 8.University of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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