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Polish Journal of Pathology
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vol. 71
Letter to the Editor

Lessons from an historical museum of anatomical pathology: thoraco-abdominopagus fetus

Rosa A.M.H. Gouveia
1, 2, 3
Teresa Ferreira
Lina Carvalho
2, 4

Forensic Pathology, Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal e Ci˜ncias Forenses, Coimbra, Portugal
Institute of Anatomical and Molecular Pathology (IAP-PM), Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra (FMUC), Coimbra, Portugal
CHLO – Hospital de Santa Cruz, Lisboa, Portugal
CHUC – University Hospital, Coimbra, Portugal
Pol J Pathol 2020; 71 (3): 281-282
Online publish date: 2020/10/25
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Conjoined twins are united by part or segments of the body and receive their name and known references depending on the macroscopic location of the union/fusion plus the word pagus (from the Greek word for “fixed”) [1, 2]. The majority of the reported cases correspond to parapagus (28%), presenting a united lower abdomen and pelvis, followed by thoracopagus (19%) – fusion of the thorax and abdominal wall until the umbilicus [3]. Having been recognized since antiquity [4], these cases are currently rare [1.5/100,000-1/500,000 live births, still with a female predominance (3♀ : 1♂)] due to medical diagnosis accuracy [2, 5].
The authors present a conjoined twins specimen from the 19th century (Fig. 1), preserved at the Teratology wing in our Museum of Anatomical Pathology, which dates from 1822 and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage site. Tutorial visits to the museum are included in the Pathology educational curriculum of the Faculty of Medicine. Like the publications of Paluchowski et al. [6] and Gulczyñski et al. [7], this report aims to emphasize the pedagogic mission of historical collections kept in university museums when preparing medical students or young residents for future clinico-pathological practice, namely in what concerns unusual nosologic entities and the understanding of congenital and/or molecular pathology/diseases, whose knowledge and preventive measures may avoid leading to final dramatic health situations as well as to patient-family suffering.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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Copyright: © 2020 Polish Association of Pathologists and the Polish Branch of the International Academy of Pathology This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/), allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, provided the original work is properly cited and states its license.
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