TTTS; Fetal transfusion syndrome
Definition of Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome
Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a rare condition that occurs only in identical twins while they are in the womb.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
TTTS occurs when blood moves from one twin to the other. The twin that loses the blood is called the donor twin. The twin that receives the blood is called the recipient twin.
The donor twin is usually born smaller than the other twin, usually with paleness, anemia, and dehydration.
Signs and tests
This condition is usually diagnosed by ultrasound during pregnancy.
Treatment may require repeated amniocentesis during pregnancy. Fetal laser surgery may be done to interrupt the flow of blood from one twin to the other.
If the twin-to-twin transfusion is mild, full recovery is expected for both babies. However, severe cases may result in the death of a twin.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/1/2009