Many times we have met different types of people who think they know the location of their organs and deliberately correct us without being correct. They say that left upper quadrant pain could be a sign of a liver problem or that your spleen is on the right side. Usually it is just bad information but there are times when this really happens as it happens in the so-called situation inversus . This congenital condition presents with a mirror arrangement of the organs that can bring with it both difficulties when diagnosing the patient and other concomitant pathologies.
So let’s address the question with which we started the article and list the reasons, through a series of cases published in recent years that will leave you surprised.
1. The case of Rose Marie Bentley
It happened during the year 2018 in a gross anatomy class at the Oregon Health and Science University in which students and teachers came across a female preparation that really left them speechless. When they proceeded to carry out the pertinent practices for the initial knowledge of structural anatomy, they were able to notice that the woman presented a situs inversus with levocardia, that is, her heart still remained in the expected place (on the left side of the body) while the rest were located in a mirror image . However, what is shocking about the case is that the patient lived her life quietly without even realizing it . Although the patient underwent three surgeries, only mentions of the particular location of her appendix were found. In addition, the relatives expressed that he did not suffer from chronic complications or any relevant signs.
Rose Marie had a full life, raised a family, went through pregnancies, births, interventions without suspecting anything at all. His case is currently being analyzed by doctors Walker and Hankin.
2. The man with the right heart
The condition known as dextrocardia refers to the mirror location of the heart (come on, instead of being on the left side of your chest, it is on the right side). The case occurred in 2021 when a 77-year-old man was admitted to the emergency room with cough, dyspnea, fever, and general malaise that lasted six days. They decided to carry out a battery of analyses, including a chest X-ray where they found the particular location of the heart, but in addition, his case was one of situs inversus totalis (that is, all the organs are on the opposite side).
The individual had no knowledge nor was there a record of his situation . Only a mild chronic rhinitis that had accompanied him for years.
Unfortunately, his condition was a severe SARS-CoV-2 and he died a few days after being admitted.
3. The Inverted Cop
During 2019, the case of a 59-year-old police officer who consulted due to dysuria (painful urination) and polyaquiuria (abundant urine) was reported, with no other relevant symptoms. Given negative urine culture results, they proceeded to perform a prostate ultrasound that showed an increase in its size and due to this, a specific ultrasound of the kidney was requested. It was then that they noticed that his liver and gallbladder were not where they should have been . Upon further investigation, they confirmed that it was a case of completely mirror-image organs.
The patient had no knowledge of his situation until that moment.
4. The mirror children
Two cases of children aged 9 and 14 who were diagnosed with situs inversus totalis by chance were published in the Revista Chilena de Pediatría . In the case of the youngest , it happened when they decided to take him to the emergency room due to chest pain . Faced with some abnormal sounds during auscultation, they decide to perform an ECG and later a chest x-ray that confirmed dextrocardia . The case of the other minor , was a finding that arose during the studies to evaluate the degree of scoliosis that he presented.
Neither of the two families suspected that something like this could be happening.
And if I find myself with a situs inversus , what do I do?
As we can read, it is a fairly rare condition with an incidence of 1 in 10,000 . The situs inversus usually goes unnoticed in the lives of those who have it. It is common for cases to be found completely incidentally during other routine studies, except in those who had heart disease since birth.
In other words, it is clearly possible to live completely unaware that your organs are backwards. All those previously mentioned are people who had a full and normal life because it does not represent a harmful picture per se but rather an anatomical malformation. But don’t worry because if you happen to be one of these cases, they will eventually find out and you’ll go on the list of peculiar experiences that abound in the medical field.
Chen W, Guo Z, Qian L, Wang L. Comorbidities in situs inversus totalis: A hospital-based study. Birth Defects Res . 2020 Mar; 112 (5): 418-426. doi: 10.1002 / bdr2.1652. Epub 2020 Jan 29. PMID: 31994846.
Emmanuel Kobina Mesi Edzie, Klenam Dzefi-Tettey, Obed Cudjoe, Philip Narteh Gorleku, Patrick Adu, “Incidental Finding of Dextrocardia with Situs Inversus in a 59-Year-Old Man”, Case Reports in Radiology , Vol. 2019, Article ID 7107293 , 4 pages, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/7107293
Juncos CM, Ros F MA, Maravall Ll M, Álvarez-Pitti J. Situs inversus totalis. About 2 clinical cases [Situs inversus totalis – 2 case reports]. Rev Chil Pediatr. 2014 Jun; 85 (3): 344-50. Spanish. doi: 10.4067 / S0370-41062014000300011. PMID: 25697252.