Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome Treatment & Management

Updated: Dec 30, 2015
  • Author: Terence Zach, MD; Chief Editor: Ronald M Ramus, MD  more...
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Treatment

Medical Care

The most common procedure to treat TTTS is reduction amniocentesis. This procedure involves draining the amniotic fluid from around the recipient twin. This procedure may improve circulation in the donor twin especially if the anastomosis are superficial in the placenta and the TTTS is a lower stage. This procedure may need to be performed multiple times during the pregnancy.

Fetoscopic laser photocoagulation of chorionic plate vessels is a highly specialized procedure performed in a few centers around the world. This is mostly reserved for more severe cases, especially those that do not respond to amnioreduction. In pregnancies treated with fetoscopic procedures, the overall survival is 75% with 85% having at least 1 fetus survive. [8] The fetal death rate for the donor is higher that the recipient following this procedure. [9]

Timing of delivery depends on multiple factors. The ideal would be for delivery at term; however, evidence of lack of fetal growth or nonreassuring antepartum testing or preterm labor may result in a premature delivery.

Medical care of twins after birth is directed toward problems related to prematurity, anemia, polycythemia, and hydrops fetalis.

  • Severely anemic donor twins may require packed RBC transfusions or partial exchange transfusions.
  • Polycythemic recipient twins may require partial exchange transfusion to lower serum hematocrit levels.
  • Newborns with hydrops fetalis may require mechanical ventilation, thoracocentesis, pericardiocentesis, and paracentesis.

Diet

Nutritional supplementation with commercially available dietary supplements during pregnancies has been reported to reduce the severity and incidence of TTTS. In addition, patients who took dietary supplements required fewer invasive procedures. [10]