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Prenat Diagn. 2005 Sep;25(9):820-6.

First-trimester diagnosis of conjoined twins.

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  • 1Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Free and University College London Medical School, London, UK.


Conjoined twins are a rare and complex complication of monozygotic twinning, which is associated with high perinatal mortality. Early prenatal diagnosis of conjoined twins allows better counselling of the parents regarding the management options, including continuation of pregnancy with post-natal surgery, termination of pregnancy or selective fetocide in case of a triplet pregnancy. With the introduction of high-resolution and transvaginal ultrasound imaging, accurate prenatal diagnosis of conjoined twins is possible early in pregnancy. We have reviewed the medical literature on the early prenatal diagnosis of suspected conjoined twins using a MEDLINE search. Although first-trimester diagnosis of conjoined twins is feasible, false-positive cases are common before 10 weeks because, earlier in gestation, fetal movements are limited and monoamniotic twins may appear conjoined. As most parents opt for immediate termination of pregnancy at confirmation of the diagnosis, there are limited data on the prenatal follow-up of conjoined twins. When the parents opt for conservative management, half of the fetuses die in utero and another 44% will die during the neonatal period. A detailed analysis of case reports where 3D imaging was used indicates that this modality does not improve on the diagnosis made by 2D ultrasound. Overall, very early prenatal diagnosis and first-trimester 3D imaging provide very little additional practical medical information compared to the 11-14 weeks' ultrasound examination.

2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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