Twin-twin transfusion syndrome and the definition of recipient polyhydramnios


      Controversy exists regarding the threshold of recipient twin polyhydramnios required to diagnose twin-twin transfusion syndrome at a gestational age of ≥20 weeks. One criterion set (Quintero staging) requires the amniotic fluid maximum vertical pocket for the recipient twin to measure ≥8 cm, whereas another (European) system uses a maximum vertical pocket for the recipient twin of ≥10 cm.


      This study aimed to characterize the patients with twin-twin transfusion syndrome who were treated with laser surgery and would be excluded from laser surgery according to the European criteria.

      Study Design

      A total of 366 monochorionic diamniotic twins diagnosed with twin-twin transfusion syndrome from 20 to 26 weeks’ gestation who underwent laser surgery at our center were studied. A maximum vertical pocket for the recipient twin of ≥8 cm was used to diagnose twin-twin transfusion syndrome. Patients were retrospectively divided into the following 2 groups: group A with a maximum vertical pocket for the recipient twin of ≥8 cm and <10 cm and group B with a maximum vertical pocket for the recipient twin of ≥10 cm. The association of each of the groups with the survivorship outcomes was tested. Bivariate associations between the patient characteristics and the 30-day donor twin and dual survivorship outcomes were evaluated. Tests used in the analysis were chi-square or Fisher exact tests as appropriate for categorical variables and Kruskal-Wallis tests for continuous variables. Multiple logistic regression models for each of the survivorship outcomes were then assessed. The results are reported as mean±standard deviation.


      Of the 366 studied patients, 53 (14.5%) had a maximum vertical pocket for the recipient twin of ≥8 and <10 cm (group A) and 313 (85.5%) had a maximum vertical pocket for the recipient twin of ≥10 cm (group B). Groups A and B did not differ in the Quintero stage. Notably, 60.4% (32 of 53) of group A patients were stage III or IV. When compared with group B, group A was diagnosed with twin-twin transfusion syndrome at an earlier gestational age (21.7±1.6 vs 22.3±1.6 weeks; P=.0037) and had a higher prevalence of donor growth restriction (81.1% [43 of 53] vs 65.5% [205 of 313]; P=.0260). Rates of at least 1 twin and dual twin survival between group A and B were similar (98.1% [52 of 53] vs 95.8% [300 of 313]; P=.7023, and 79.2% [42 of 53] vs 83.4% [261 of 313]; P=.4369, respectively). Logistic regression models adjusted for perioperative characteristics showed no difference in the outcomes between the groups (group B as reference) (donor twin survival odds ratio, 0.64; 95% confidence interval, 0.29–1.42; P=.2753; and dual survivor odds ratio, 0.90; 95% confidence interval, 0.42–1.91; P=.7757).


      Restriction of the definition of twin-twin transfusion syndrome to a maximum vertical pocket for the recipient of ≥10 cm beyond 20 weeks gestational age would potentially exclude 14.5% of patients from laser surgery, the majority of whom had advanced stage twin-twin transfusion syndrome. A unifying criterion of a maximum vertical pocket for the recipient of ≥8 cm regardless of gestational age would allow inclusion of these patients and access to surgical management.

      Key words

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