A pair of conjoined twins, who were delivered by a team of medical experts at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), have tragically passed away.
Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, shared this sombre information in an interview with NAN on Monday in Lagos.
The hospital’s management had initially celebrated the birth of the conjoined twins, announcing that they were delivered on October 5th at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, LASUTH. Their estimated gestational age at the time of delivery was 33 weeks and six days.
Prof. Fabamwo disclosed that the twins were joined from top to bottom, a particularly complex situation that required a specific age threshold to attempt separation. Tragically, the first twin succumbed to congenital heart issues that were incompatible with life, leading to her passing on October 15.
In response to this, the hospital rapidly assembled a multi-speciality team, drawing experts from LASUTH and other medical facilities in an attempt to separate the twins. Regrettably, before intervention could occur, the second twin also passed away on October 16.
Despite the heartbreaking outcome, LASUTH initially celebrated the successful delivery of the twins as a significant milestone. These conjoined female babies were fused at the lower chest and abdomen (thoraco-omphalopagus) and were delivered at 8:26 a.m. with commendable APGAR scores and a combined birth weight of 3.8kg.
Conjoined twins, often referred to as Siamese twins, are born physically connected to each other, resulting from the incomplete separation of an early embryo. Their physical connection typically occurs at the chest, abdomen, or pelvis, and they may share one or more internal organs.
According to a 2017 report in the Journal of Clinical Anatomy, conjoined twins are exceedingly rare, with an incidence of 1 in 50,000 births, and roughly 70 per cent of them are female. However, the study notes that since about 60 per cent of these cases result in stillbirth, the actual incidence rate is closer to one in 200,000 births.
While conjoined twins face significant challenges, there have been remarkable stories of survival and successful separation in Nigeria, including cases like Goodness and Mercy Martins, who were born in 2018 and separated in 2019, and Hassanah and Hasina, born in 2022 and successfully separated in 2023.