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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Jan;208(1):3-18. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.10.880. Epub 2012 Nov 27.

Twin-twin transfusion syndrome.

Author information

1
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Publications Committee, Washington, DC, USA.

Erratum in

  • Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 May;208(5):392.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We sought to review the natural history, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment options for twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

METHODS:

A systematic review was performed using MEDLINE database, PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library. The search was restricted to English-language articles published from 1966 through July 2012. Priority was given to articles reporting original research, in particular randomized controlled trials, although review articles and commentaries also were consulted. Abstracts of research presented at symposia and scientific conferences were not considered adequate for inclusion in this document. Evidence reports and guidelines published by organizations or institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Health Research and Quality, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine were also reviewed, and additional studies were located by reviewing bibliographies of identified articles. Consistent with US Preventive Task Force guidelines, references were evaluated for quality based on the highest level of evidence, and recommendations were graded accordingly.

RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

TTTS is a serious condition that can complicate 8-10% of twin pregnancies with monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) placentation. The diagnosis of TTTS requires 2 criteria: (1) the presence of a MCDA pregnancy; and (2) the presence of oligohydramnios (defined as a maximal vertical pocket of <2 cm) in one sac, and of polyhydramnios (a maximal vertical pocket of >8 cm) in the other sac. The Quintero staging system appears to be a useful tool for describing the severity of TTTS in a standardized fashion. Serial sonographic evaluation should be considered for all twins with MCDA placentation, usually beginning at around 16 weeks and continuing about every 2 weeks until delivery. Screening for congenital heart disease is warranted in all monochorionic twins, in particular those complicated by TTTS. Extensive counseling should be provided to patients with pregnancies complicated by TTTS including natural history of the disease, as well as management options and their risks and benefits. The natural history of stage I TTTS is that more than three-fourths of cases remain stable or regress without invasive intervention, with perinatal survival of about 86%. Therefore, many patients with stage I TTTS may often be managed expectantly. The natural history of advanced (eg, stage ≥III) TTTS is bleak, with a reported perinatal loss rate of 70-100%, particularly when it presents <26 weeks. Fetoscopic laser photocoagulation of placental anastomoses is considered by most experts to be the best available approach for stages II, III, and IV TTTS in continuing pregnancies at <26 weeks, but the metaanalysis data show no significant survival benefit, and the long-term neurologic outcomes in the Eurofetus trial were not different than in nonlaser-treated controls. Even laser-treated TTTS is associated with a perinatal mortality rate of 30-50%, and a 5-20% chance of long-term neurologic handicap. Steroids for fetal maturation should be considered at 24 0/7 to 33 6/7 weeks, particularly in pregnancies complicated by stage ≥III TTTS, and those undergoing invasive interventions.

PMID:
23200164
DOI:
10.1016/j.ajog.2012.10.880
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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