Situs Inversus

Situs Inversus or transverses also called as oppositus is genetically a rare condition in which the visceral organs of the chest and abdomen are positioned in a mirror image structure. In simple terms, the organs grow in a reverse position. One in ten thousand people suffer from this type of disorder. To quote an example, in a normal human body the liver is mostly positioned in the right but a person who has Situs Inversus will have the liver functioning on the left. Similarly left atrium of heart will be positioned differently in the right side instead of the left.

There are basically three types of Situs Inversus:

  1. Dextrocardia – A person who has his/her heart on the right side of the human body is considered to have dextrocardia.
  2. Levocardia – If the other organs are flipped but the heart is one the left hand side then the person’s condition is termed as levocardia. The latter is a very rare condition and is linked with other cardiac malfunctions
  3. Ambiguous – When several organs are at an anomalous position then the person is said to have ambiguous organs. The pattern is hap hazard and does not perform normal functions.

Key points on Situs Inversus

  1. A rare condition in which the visceral organs are in a mirrored position.
  2. Rarely has any symptoms but is revealed during diagnosis of other medical ailments.
  3. The treatment also requires a reversed procedure, mostly for heart ailments. Surgery to resurrect the organs is not advised.

Causes of Situs Inversus

A person who has Situs Inversus will mostly have right to left reversal of all the visceral organs. The heart will be found in right hand side, a condition called as dextrocardia. The abdominal organs too will be positioned in reversed form. However one must understand, since the organs are placed differently yet  the functions do not change and hence such persons will not have any abnormalities in performing daily routines neither will have any such medical complications. Very rarely, in some cases patients will have conditions such as situs ambiguous and heterotaxy situs. In such cases, liver could have a midline presence, the spleen may be absent or may be found in too much quantities and the bowel functions could be abhorrent that could give problems in bowel functioning. These can cause various medical problems as compared to Situs Inversus. Some of the causes of Situs Inversus are as below:

  • Mainly autosomal recessive genetic condition is what causes Situs Inversus. For example an affected mother and an unaffected father often result in one in four chances of a child having this syndrome. The embryo formation leads to genetic disorders sometimes and hence this rare condition comes into formation.
  • The condition is sometimes also caused when an embryo splits later in first or second trimester of pregnancy. This is mostly observed in mirror image twins.
  • PCD or primary ciliary dyskinesia is also a cause of Situs Inversus. Embryos that have PCD have a fifty percent chance of developing Situs Inversus. A normally functioning embryo and the cilia formations conclude the location of internal organs.

Symptoms of Situs Inversus

There may be no visible symptoms or any complications. But some people do complain of cardiac dysfunction such as PCD or primary ciliary dyskinesia that can result in chronic sinusitis and even bronchitis. Kartagener’s syndrome is detectable in people with both Situs Inversus as well PCD.

Diagnosis and treatment of Situs Inversus

Since there are no symptoms and it is a rare condition, a person would not know at all whether he has situs inverus. However when a person has gone to the doctor for other related illness check up, an X -Ray scan, CT scan, sonography or a MRI scan can help detect the abnormalities of situs Inversus. Once the person knows the condition he/she should make sure that they carry identification tags or reports every time they step out thus help the doctor during emergencies.

There is no specific treatment for such a rare condition as the functions of the organs are not duplicated. But a person with situs inversus in the heart has any defects then it can easily be diagnosed and treatment according to doctor’s advice is carried out. In most cases surgeries of any kind is not recommended neither practiced.

Since this is a rare condition that comes to a few at the time the embryo is in the womb, it is considered atypical condition. Sometimes there will be no symptoms and other times there are complications that can only be bought to notice when the doctor examines you thoroughly. Most of the times symptoms of any cardiac complications can be identified and in accordance to the warning sign, necessary treatment is shelved out but a surgery to correct organ placement is a complete no and usually it isn’t proposed as well.

Situs Inversus Pictures

Picture of Situs Inversus

Situs Inversus Image

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