Saturday, November 3, 2012

Situs inversus

Hello bloggy-friends

If you've read my post on Heterochromia iridis, you'll know that I've a special love for the human physiology and psychology (sadly, I don't happen to study either). I have always been intrigued by everything different and unnatural. What is weird and freaky to most is interesting to me. So I have decided to do posts here on rare and very less known disorders of the human body. After my post on Heterochromia iridis, here comes the next on the list-

Situs inversus


Situs inversus /oppositus / transversus is a gene linked disorder. It is in fact the shorter version of the Latin phrase "situs inversus viscerum" . As the very words "transverse" or "inverted" suggest, this disease has something to do with an inverted order. In this case, it is the visceral (meaning internal) body parts. People suffering from this disorder have their internal organs placed in the opposite order to the normal placements. That is the organs that are normally placed on the right side are placed in the left and vice versa. A total mirror image placement as you might say in simpler terms.

A normal arrangement of the internal organs in a human body is situs solitus. In this arrangement organs like the heart is placed towards the left and the liver on the right. A person having situs inversus will have their organs placed in the opposite sides. Take a look at this picture-

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See the mirror image placement of the vital organs?

Now you might ask why is that word "totalis" included in that picture. Well, there are two kinds of situs inversus -
1) Situs inversus with dextrocardia (the heart being on the right side instead of the left) called situs inversus totalis.
2) Situs inversus with levocardia (the heart being on the left side) called situs inversus incompletus. This condition is comparatively rare and has much more complications that the former.

As I mentioned earlier in the post this is a genetic disorder. It is autosomal recessive meaning that a person inherits the disease only when both the chromosomes responsible for the arrangement, each coming from either parent are affected. People who are carriers and have one defective chromosome live like normal individuals.
But in some cases this may also be linked to the X chromosome (one of the sex determining chromosomes). This condition can be found in mirror twins who have identical features in their body placed in opposite sides to each other. For example one twin is left handed and the other is right handed.

Leonardo da Vinci had seen and drawn dextrocardia way back in the 16th Century. People with situs inversus totalis usually lead normal lifestyles and may not even be aware of their condition. However, the incompletus can come with several complications.

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The Canadian- American actress Catherine O' Hara (the lady who played mum to Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone) had mentioned in interviews that her organs and reversely placed.

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NBA basketball player Randy Foye was also diagnosed with situs inversus but thankfully, it will not have an impact on his performance.

Do you know anybody who has this rare condition?

P.S.- I'm no medical student and everything written here is from my understanding of the disease from the information given on online medical forums. 

Bye till next!! 
Stay healthy...stay happy ( vice versa is also applicable here :P) :D


28 comments:

  1. Fascinating stuff Swarnali! I am a left handed person but yeah my organs are pretty much where they should be. :)

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  2. Welcome to Dreams n Drama ,Swapna :)
    I'm not very sure if being left handed has anything to do with situs inversus. I used to be right handed till I was 13, then I had to undergo a surgery in my right arm which made it immobile for a long period of time and by the meantime I used my left hand to do everything I used to do previously with my right hand. Now I can use both my hands with equal efficiency except during writing, I still write with my right hand.
    Thanks for visiting :)

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  3. This was full of good knowledge ... loved reading it !!!

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    1. Thanks for the appreciation, Green Speck :)

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  4. I never knew this condition. Do people in this condition face more problems?

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    1. I am really glad that you have come to know of this condition after reading my post :)
      Well, about the problems, people having this condition have problems during organ transplants as finding suitable donors becomes quite a problem and the whole transplant process is way more complicated than what a normal configured person would have. People with situs inversus totalis do not as such face any problems. Its just that they organs are reversed but everything functions just as fine as ours would. A person with situs inversus incompletus will have some problems as their heart is not reversed along with the other part, so they suffer from many other congenital issues along with the organ alignment. I hope that helped. :)
      Good day!!

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  5. hmmm Nope I dont know anyone .

    That is some good info.. we were told about all this when in training ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Ah that is nice...I didn't know of this disorder before yesterday. I came across the name while reading an article about Catherine O'Hara and went digging about the disease...its really fascinating.
      Good Day to you :)

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  6. I don't know anyone with this disorder, but I have heard of it. It was some medical show I was watching. Medical science is very fascinating!

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    1. Hello Jenn!!
      It is a delight to see your comment here :)
      Yes, I do agree to that!! There is no other field in science that provides more scope to variation as much as medical science does :)

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  7. That was an interesting read. I like reading about human physiology too (another reason I like Bones)!! I've heard of people having their heart on the right side, but this disorder is new to me.

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    1. Same pinch :D
      I didn't know about this one (I knew about dextrocardia though) until yesterday...read it in an article :)

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  8. That's a new knowledge for me. Thanks for sharing. I am intrigued by various abnormalities in the Human body too but to so much of an extent as to research about it :D
    Thanks for the comment on my blog. Means a lot!!

    +To Me It Matters+

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    1. Hey,
      Glad to have you back here :D
      Hehehe, i have a little too much of craziness about the human body :P
      And I love your blog and the life you put to each post of yours :) Being anonymous sure has its perks...I wouldn't dare tell things from my life on my blog.

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  9. I don't know anyone who has this condition. I didn't even know it existed. You learn something new every day.

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    1. Am glad you got to know something new from here... :)

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  10. i love it that ur so brainy! :D would like u c u write a medical thriller some day. ;) great post, very informative AND nice to read.

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    1. Ahem "brainy" ?? ;) Medical thriller eh?? Like Robin Cook's ??? :P Lets see :D :D

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  11. nice post.
    well written
    www.sliceofbeauty.com

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  12. Hi there! I just wanted to say that I have this condition! When I was eight years old I got appendicitis, just all the pain was in my left side not my right, which doctors found.. well.. odd. So after scans etc. they found I had Situs Inversus Totalis and removed my appendix. I am yet to meet someone with this condition.

    Emma B, 17 :)

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    1. Hey there Emma!!
      Welcome to Dreams n Drama. It is great to have you here...thank you for leaving a comment here. Went to check your blog but couldn't find the followers widget...you've go some lovely work there. :)
      Yeah the appendicitis that you mentioned, Randy Foye's condition was diagnosed likewise during a medical checkup.
      Take Care

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  13. I have situs inversus with levocardia (which means my heart is on the left). This wasn't discovered until last year, after having a lobectomy with lung cancer and my right lung had only two lobes instead of the normal three!! I am 67 years old and have had a mastectomy, hysterectomy and three children. hence numerous scans but it took until I was 66 to discover this!!

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    1. Whoa that is quite a lot for one lifetime :-o I hope you are doing well now.

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  14. I have situs inversus with levocardia (which means my heart is on the left). This wasn't discovered until last year, after having a lobectomy with lung cancer and my right lung had only two lobes instead of the normal three!! I am 67 years old and have had a mastectomy, hysterectomy and three children. hence numerous scans but it took until I was 66 to discover this!!

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  15. Hi! I have situs inversus incompletus :) It was "discovered" by mistake when I was 6 (now I am 27). None took care a lot of this. 2 years ago I changed my country of living and new examinaitons were made to avoid the translation of old diagnosis.
    I don´t have any problems connected to this. I hope it stays like this in future :)

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  16. HI iv just found out that iv got situs inversus incompletus I'm 50 yrs old.iv always thought something wasn't quite right inside but never knew what it was until I haf tests carried out recently

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    1. I would love more info on this but can't find much I also have 2 spleens

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