- Situs inversus viscerum
Your QuestionMy husband has situs inversus. Is the brain turned around or otherwise affected in individuals with this condition?
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Questions on this page
Dextrocardia can occur with situs inversus. Dextrocardia means that the heart lies on the right side of the body, and the apex (tip) of the heart points to the right instead of the left.
Situs inversus can also occur in association with syndromes such as Kartagener syndrome or another primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD). Kartagener syndrome affects about 20% of people with situs inversus; however, only about half of people with Kartagener syndrome have situs inversus. Kartagener syndrome can be diagnosed after birth. PCD is present in about one fourth of people with situs inversus totalis, and situs inversus totalis is present in nearly half of people with PCD.
Specific abnormalities that have been associated with situs inversus include incomplete transposition of thoracic (chest) or abdominal organs, various congenital heart defects, polysplenia (more than one spleen), asplenia (absent spleen), annular (ring-shaped) pancreas, horseshoe kidney, and diaphragmatic hernia.
The incidence of congenital heart defects is increased to up to 5% in people with situs inversus. Associated heart abnormalities may include ventricular septal defect, tetralogy of Fallot, double outlet right ventricle, and/or complete or corrected transposition of the arteries. Extra-cardiac malformations (affecting parts of the body other than the heart) are not typically found in people with situs inversus.
Findings from several articles support the concept that brain abnormalities (specifically asymmetry) may be found in individuals who have situs inversus. At least one study found evidence which supported the concept that a reversal of more commonly found intracranial anatomy may occur in situs inversus totalis.
You can find articles relevant to this topic through PubMed, a searchable database of biomedical journal articles. Although not all of the articles are available for free online, most articles listed in PubMed have a summary available. To obtain the full article, contact a medical/university library or your local library for interlibrary loan. You can also order articles online through the publisher’s Web site. Using "situs inversus AND brain abnormalities" as your search term should help you locate articles. Use the advanced search feature to narrow your search results. Click here to view a search.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Web site has a page for locating libraries in your area that can provide direct access to these journals (print or online). The Web page also describes how you can get these articles through interlibrary loan and Loansome Doc (an NLM document-ordering service). You can access this page at the following link http://nnlm.gov/members/. You can also contact the NLM toll-free at 888-346-3656 to locate libraries in your area.
- Tiller GE, Hamid R. Situs Inversus. NORD Guide to Rare Disorders. 2003;
- Talabi AO, Sowande OA, Tanimola AG, Adejuyigbe O. Situs inversus in association with duodenal atresia. Afr J Paediatr Surg. July-September, 2013; 10(3):275-278.
- Annamaria Wilhelm, MD. Situs Inversus Imaging. Medscape Reference. October 2013; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/413679-overview.
- Alvin J Chin. Heterotaxy Syndrome and Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia. Medscape Reference. May 9, 2014; http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/896757-overview.
- Alfred Z. Abuhamad, Rabih Chaoui. Fetal Heterotaxy, Left Atrial Isomerism, Right Atrial Isomerism, and Situs Inversus. A Practical Guide to Fetal Echocardiography: Normal and Abnormal Hearts. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010;
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- Kennedy DN, O'Craben KM, Ticho BS, et al.. Neurology. 1999; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10522882. Accessed 7/19/2010.
- Tanaka S, Kanzaki R, Yoshibayashi M, et al.. Neuropsychologia. 1999; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10408653. Accessed 7/19/2010.