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Int J Pediatr. 2010;2010. pii: 379792. doi: 10.1155/2010/379792. Epub 2010 Aug 8.

The Fetal Heart in Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

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University Hospitals Leuven, Division of Woman and Child, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy Unit, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.


Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome is a severe complication occurring in 10% of monochorionic twin pregnancies. The disease is usually explained as due to an intrauterine imbalance in intertwin blood exchange, which leads to a volume depleted-donor twin and an overfilled recipient twin. The recipient has signs of cardiac dysfunction, which can be measured using echocardiography or blood and amniotic fluid derived biomarkers. Whereas cardiac dysfunction typically progresses in pregnancies treated with amniodrainage, it usually disappears within a few weeks after fetoscopic laser coagulation of the connecting intertwin anastomoses. Nevertheless, recipients remain at a increased risk of pulmonary stenosis. In this paper, we summarize the cardiac alterations in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, describe the changes seen after fetal therapy, list the newly proposed staging systems based on fetal cardiac function, and make recommendations about the use of fetal echocardiography in the evaluation and followup of pregnancies complicated by twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

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