Heteropagus (parasitic) twins: a review.
Heteropagus, or "parasitic," twins are asymmetric conjoined twins in which the tissues of a severely defective twin (parasite) are dependent on the cardiovascular system of the other, largely intact twin (autosite) for survival. The estimated incidence of heteropagus twins is approximately 1 per 1 million live births. Isolated case reports comprise most of published work on this rare congenital anomaly. In the past, review articles have focused narrowly on one particular anatomical subtype of parasitic twin and/or on the anatomicopathology observed. Here, we present the epidemiology, proposed pathoembryogenic origins, anatomical abnormalities, management, and outcomes of the wide array of heteropagus twins described in the English language literature.