Stage-dependent fetal umbilical blood flow changes induced by laser therapy and amniodrainage in twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome

J. Becker, E. Hernandez-Andrade, B. Muñoz-Abellana, R. Acosta, L. Cabero, E. Gratacós

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Objective: To estimate changes in umbilical blood flow (UBF) and Doppler indices in pregnancies complicated by twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTS) treated with either laser therapy or amniodrainage, and to evaluate the influence of the presence of hemodynamic deterioration prior to therapy, as determined by the Quintero stages of seventy. Methods: Forty-eight cases of TTS were included, and further classified into severity Stages I or II (absence of critically abnormal Dopplers (CAD), n = 22) and Stages III or IV (presence of CAD or hydrops fetalis, n = 26). In Stages I-II, 14 cases were treated with laser and eight with amniodrainage, and in Stages III-IV, 17 were treated with laser and nine with amniodrainage. Differences in the UBF, umbilical artery pulstility index (UA-PI) and ductus venosus pulsatility index (DV-PI) were estimated for both groups of severity before and after both treatments. Eleven normal monochorionic pregnancies were evaluated as controls. Results: In recipients, UBF was significantly higher with respect to controls regardless of the stage, while donors had a significant decrease in UBF, but only in Stages IU-IV. After laser treatment no changes were observed in fetuses in Stages I-II. In Stages III-IV, recipients showed a significant reduction in the DV-PI (mean DV-PI 1.31 ± 0.18 vs. 1.05 ± 0.22; P = 0.005) whereas donors showed a significant increase in the UBF (mean UBF 134 ± 36 mL/min vs. 195 ± 25 mL/min; P < 0.001) and in the DV-PI (mean DV-PI 0.99 ± 0.26 vs. 1.36 ± 0.42; P = 0.002), and a reduction in the UA-PI (mean UA-PI 1.86 ± 0.47 vs. 1.58 ± 0.30; P = 0.01). After amniodrainage only donor fetuses in Stages III-IV showed an increase in UA-PI (mean UA-PI 1.54 ± 0.35 vs. 1.72 ± 0.40; P = 0.015). No other changes were observed in any of the parameters studied. Conclusion: Laser therapy induces consistent hemodynamic variations in TTS mainly manifested in Stages III-IV. Copyright © 2006 ISUOG.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674-680
JournalUltrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2006


  • Amniodrainage
  • Doppler
  • Laser
  • Severity stages
  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome
  • Umbilical blood flow


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