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What Happens When One Conjoined Twin Dies Before The Other

When twins are born with their bodies connected, they are called conjoined twins. Some twins share only a small amount of tissue, and both children may have all the organs and other structures they need. Conjoined twins may be connected to each other in many different ways. 

Not all conjoined twins are candidates for surgery, such as when the babies share a heart. Separation surgery is a very complex procedure that requires multiple health care professionals with varying areas of expertise. 


Many of the conjoined twins share many tissues, vascular network, nervous system as the result of the embryological problem. Attempts to divide them in the first moments of birth are often too difficult to tackle. Upon death of the twin, depending on the tissues, vascular, organ sharing there are different scenarios.


Often, once one conjoined twin passes, be it from natural causes or an unintentional incident, their twin follows in their ghostly footsteps rather quickly. Sometimes it takes mere hours, other times a few days, but the unfortunate reality is once one conjoined twin is gone, the other has a limited amount of time left on this earth.

According to Dr. Eric Stauch, when the heart of one of the twins stops, they will lose blood into the living twin. There are only hours to save the living twin with surgery, meaning they would need to be in the hospital prior to the loss with a team of surgeons ready to go. Separation surgeries usually take more than 10 hours, so even that would likely not save the living twin.


Sepsis occurs when the infection from the deceased twin overwhelms the living twin's system, causing inflammation that leads to organ failure. Conjoined twins occur very rarely. They are categorized by the area of the body that is connected. Most commonly, conjoined twins are joined at the chest. The prognosis for conjoined twins is not good. 

Many do not survive in utero or they die shortly after birth. However, separation surgery can be performed successfully in some cases. Conjoined twins are typically diagnosed early on in pregnancy with ultrasound.

Content created and supplied by: Auntykuma (via Opera News )

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