Conjoined twins may prompt a study

2012-06-09 17:56

 The Eastern Cape health department is considering commissioning a study to investigate why so many women in the former Transkei region give birth to conjoined twins.

The fifth set of conjoined twins from the region in the past two years were born at the Dr Malizo Mpehle District hospital in Tsolo, Mthatha, on Wednesday.

The girls are joined from the upper abdomen and chest. Preliminary investigations have revealed that they also share a heart and liver.

However, doctors at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town are still conducting more tests. The twins were transferred to the hospital on Thursday.

Provincial (Eastern Cape) health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said: “Conjoined twins, or babies born with organs outside of the body, are very common in the areas around the former Transkei.

“The latest birth has prompted the department of health to consider doing a study on this phenomenon.”

The incidence of conjoined twins globally is estimated at about one in 250?000 births and about 70% of all conjoined twins are girls. The survival rate is between 5% and 25%.

All four sets of conjoined twins born in the former Transkei region have since died.

Said Kupelo: “We are hoping for the best this time around.”

Faiza Steyn, spokesperson for Western Cape health department, said: “It will take several months before it is decided whether the twins will be separated or not.

“These decisions cannot be made until they (the twins) have undergone a full investigation to identify the areas of conjunction and the anatomy, and normal functioning of heart, lungs, intestine, liver and urinary tracts.”

Steyn added: “They may even be sent home in the interim to grow and develop more, if that is deemed the safest course of action.”

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