Two babies, one heart, and no airway.

Research paper by Asa A AA Mair, Eric A EA Mair

Indexed on: 19 May '06Published on: 19 May '06Published in: International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology


The medical literature on conjoined twins is replete with descriptions of the complexity of surgical separations. However, airway management, although quite challenging, is neglected in literature. We present experience with conjoined twins united anteriorly at the thorax and abdomen sharing one six-chambered heart. Laryngoscopy and intubation recommendations, bronchoscopy techniques, and tracheotomy strategies are outlined for the face-to-face twins. Difficult, unique case report at tertiary care medical center. Conjoined thoraco-omphalopagus twins were successfully intubated at birth using the rigid Seldinger-assisted videotelescopic intubation (SAVI) technique. Flexible airway endoscopy allows for timely management of ventilator-dependent conjoined twins. Tracheotomy was later performed with the twins in the upright position with heads slightly rotated. Meticulous attention to detail, monitoring and vigilance are mandatory. Successful management of conjoined twins relies on close communication and cooperation of all members of the multidisciplinary team. Conjoined thoraco-omphalopagus twins united anteriorly require a challenging airway management strategy. A three-dimensional perspective is utilized for intubation and tracheotomy. The SAVI technique is helpful for difficult intubations in the emergent twin airways.