Medical Definition of Situs inversus totalis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Reversal of organs, total: This condition (medically called situs inversus totalis) involves complete transposition (right to left reversal) of the thoracic and abdominal organs. The heart is not in its usual position in the left chest, but is on the right. Specifically related to the heart, this is referred to as dextrocardia (literally, right-hearted).The stomach, which is normally in the left upper abdomen, is on the right. In patients with situs inversus totalis, all of the chest and abdominal organs are reversed and appear in mirror image when examined or visualized by tests such as X-ray filming. Situs inversus totalis has been estimated to occur once in about 6-8,000 births. Situs inversus occurs in a rare abnormal condition that is present at birth (congenital) called Kartagener's syndrome.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018