One-in-a-million conjoined twins born with two heads and sharing same torso defied the odds to be born alive – but died just 24-hours after birth.
The parents of the boys were born healthy and placed on a ventilator but doctors say their chances of survival were hopeless.
The unnamed babies, from India, weighing 3.7kg (8.15Ib), shared a liver and a pair of limbs but had separate lungs and hearts.
Medics revealed that the mother and father begged them to save their children but they said ‘such kids do not survive’.
They also explained that had they lived, there would have been no possibility of separation surgery.
Twins born with two heads, but sharing one body, are known as dicephalic parapagus – an extremely unusual form of conjoinment, said to affect only one in a million births.
Twins born with two heads and sharing same torso are usually born stillborn
The babies survived for 24 hours on a ventilator but died in hospital in western India
Doctors from Swami Ramanand Tirth government hospital said ‘such kids do not survive’
THE SEPARATION OF CONJOINED TWINS
The surgical separation of conjoined twins is a delicate and risky procedure, requiring extreme precision and care.
Therefore, the decision to separate twins is a serious one.
Mortality rates for twins who undergo separation vary, depending on their type of connection, and the organs they share.
In cases of twins where the pumping chambers of their hearts are conjoined hearts, there are no known survivors.
Although success rates have improved over the years, surgical separation is still rare.
Since 1950, at least one twin has survived separation about 75 percent of the time.
It is only after twins are born that doctors can use magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound and angiography to find out what organs the twins share. In order to determine the feasibility of separation, doctors must carefully assess how the twins’ shared organs function.
After separation, most twins need intensive rehabilitation because of the malformation and position of their spines.
The muscles in their backs are constantly being flexed and they often have a difficult time bending their backs forward and backwards and sitting up straight.
Source: University of Maryland Medical Center
No chance of survival
The boys were born by C-section to a 32-year-old woman at Swami Ramanand Tirth government hospital in Beed in Maharashtra in western India on Sunday, October 29.
The mother wished to remain anonymous in fear of being shunned by the locals.
Her babies’ malformation was only discovered in the 32nd week of gestation when the woman and her husband went for an ultrasound.
Dr Sanjay Bansode, head of the gynaecology department, said the twins were born in healthy condition but doctors knew they had no chance of survival.
‘The babies were a case of dicephalic parapagus or two-headed twins, which are often stillborn.
‘It is extremely rare and happens just one in a lakh [equal to one hundred thousand] and chances of dicephalic parapagus twins are of around 10 per cent of such births.
‘Their condition was very critical and they were put on ventilator support. However, a day after birth they died.’
Other experts have estimated this type of conjoined twin to be even rarer.
Medics say the couple, who are already parents to three daughters and a son, were shocked to find their newborn had two heads.
‘They were extremely poor and were nervous after the child’s birth,’ said Dr Sanjay Bansode.
‘The mother did not know she was carrying conjoined twins until the 32nd week of pregnancy.’
‘They asked us to do anything to save the babies but such kids do not survive. There is no possibility of surgery either as they share most of their body parts and in this case had just one pair of limbs.’