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Twin Res Hum Genet. 2016 Jun;19(3):222-33. doi: 10.1017/thg.2016.18. Epub 2016 Apr 12.

Twin Anemia Polycythemia Sequence: Current Views on Pathogenesis, Diagnostic Criteria, Perinatal Management, and Outcome.

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Division of Fetal Medicine,Department of Obstetrics,Leiden University Medical Centre,Leiden,the Netherlands.
Division of Neonatology,Department of Pediatrics,Leiden University Medical Centre,Leiden,the Netherlands.


Monochorionic twins share a single placenta and are connected with each other through vascular anastomoses. Unbalanced inter-twin blood transfusion may lead to various complications, including twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) and twin anemia polycythemia sequence (TAPS). TAPS was first described less than a decade ago, and the pathogenesis of TAPS results from slow blood transfusion from donor to recipient through a few minuscule vascular anastomoses. This gradually leads to anemia in the donor and polycythemia in the recipient, in the absence of twin oligo-polyhydramnios sequence (TOPS). TAPS may occur spontaneously in 3-5% of monochorionic twins or after laser surgery for TTTS. The prevalence of post-laser TAPS varies from 2% to 16% of TTTS cases, depending on the rate of residual anastomoses. Pre-natal diagnosis of TAPS is currently based on discordant measurements of the middle cerebral artery peak systolic velocity (MCA-PSV; >1.5 multiples of the median [MoM] in donors and 8 g/dL), and at least one of the following: reticulocyte count ratio >1.7 or minuscule placental anastomoses. Management includes expectant management, and intra-uterine blood transfusion (IUT) with or without partial exchange transfusion (PET) or fetoscopic laser surgery. Post-laser TAPS can be prevented by using the Solomon laser surgery technique. Short-term neonatal outcome ranges from isolated inter-twin Hb differences to severe neonatal morbidity and neonatal death. Long-term neonatal outcome in post-laser TAPS is comparable with long-term outcome after treated TTTS. This review summarizes the current knowledge after 10 years of research on the pathogenesis, diagnosis, management, and outcome in TAPS.


anemia; monochorionic twins; polycythemia; twin anemia polycythemia sequence

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