Relevance of measuring diastolic time intervals in the ductus venosus during the early stages of twin–twin transfusion syndrome




To determine if the discrete myocardial diastolic dysfunction documented previously in the recipient twin during the early stages of twin–twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) has any repercussion on flow velocities through the ductus venosus (DV) and to investigate if this could allow early differentiation between TTTS and selective intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).


Two groups of monochorionic twin pregnancies with growth discordance between twins were reviewed retrospectively. Group I was composed of fetuses in Stages I and II of TTTS; laser or amnioreduction was not performed in any instance. Group II twin pairs each included one fetus with IUGR due to placental circulatory insufficiency. Intertwin differences (smaller minus larger fetus) were analyzed for myocardial performance index of the right ventricle (MPI-RV) and for time variables in the DV.


There were 38 pairs of monochorionic twins (24 TTTS and 14 IUGR) in this study. In the TTTS group, the donors had a significantly lower MPI-RV (0.419 ± 0.18 vs. 0.596 ± 0.17, F(1, 19df) = 24.017, P < 0.001), a significantly longer total ventricular filling time (150.9 ± 25.6 ms vs. 124.0 ± 22.6 ms; F(1, 21df) = 19.631, P < 0.001) and a significantly longer early filling time (118.9 ± 22.9 ms vs. 92.6 ± 18.9 ms, F(1, 21df) = 28.419, P < 0.001) than had the recipient. None of these three differences was present in the IUGR group. Probability studies revealed that cut-off values of 12.75 for intertwin differences in total filling time and 8.5 for intertwin differences in early filling time had sensitivities of 71% and 92%, respectively. The false-positive rates were 23% and 15%, respectively, for the early diagnosis of TTTS.


In monochorionic twin pregnancies, shortening of the ventricular filling time in the recipient twin indicates diastolic myocardial dysfunction occurring early in the pathophysiology of TTTS. This early interwin difference in myocardial function is not found in pregnancies with IUGR in one twin due to placental circulatory insufficiency, allowing early differentiation between TTTS and selective IUGR. Copyright © 2007 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.