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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1):CD002073. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002073.pub2.

Interventions for the treatment of twin-twin transfusion syndrome.

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  • 1Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust, Crown Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK L8 7SS.

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Twin-twin transfusion syndrome, a condition affecting monochorionic twin pregnancies, is associated with a high risk of perinatal mortality and morbidity. A number of treatments have been introduced to treat the condition but it is unclear which intervention improves maternal and fetal outcome.


The objective of this review was to evaluate the impact of treatment modalities in twin-twin transfusion syndrome.


We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (October 2007) and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (The Cochrane Library 2007, Issue 4). We also searched conference proceedings and made personal contact with experts active in the area of the review.


Randomised and quasi-randomised studies of amnioreduction versus laser coagulation, septostomy versus laser coagulation or septostomy versus amnioreduction.


One review author assessed eligibility and extracted data, which were checked by a second author. We contacted study authors for additional information.


Two studies (213 women) were included. This review shows that laser coagulation of anastomotic vessels results in less death of both infants per pregnancy (relative risk (RR) 0.33; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.16 to 0.67, one trial), less perinatal death (RR 0.59; 95% CI 0.0.40 to 0.87 adjusted for cluster, one trial) and less neonatal death (RR 0.29; 95% CI 0.14 to 0.61 adjusted for cluster, one trial) than in pregnancies treated with amnioreduction. There is no difference in perinatal outcome between amnioreduction and septostomy. A third study is awaiting assessment. More babies were alive without neurological abnormality at the age of six months in the laser group than the amnioreduction groups (RR 1.66; 95% CI 1.17 to 2.35 adjusted for clustering, one trial). This difference did not persist beyond six months of age. There was no significant difference in the babies alive at six months with neurological abnormality treated by laser coagulation or amnioreduction (RR 0.58; 95% CI 0.18 to 1.86 adjusted for clustering, one trial).


Endoscopic laser coagulation of anastomotic vessels should be considered in the treatment of all stages of twin-twin transfusion syndrome to improve perinatal outcome. Further research on the effect of treatment on milder forms of twin-twin transfusion syndrome (Quintero stage 1 and 2) are required. The long-term outcomes of survivors from the studies included in this review are required.

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