First-trimester cord entanglement in monoamniotic twins

Authors

  • T. G. Overton,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Fetal Care, Division of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, London, UK
    • Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, Goldhawk Road, London W6 OXG, UK
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  • M. L. Denbow,

    1. Centre for Fetal Care, Division of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, London, UK
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  • K. R. Duncan,

    1. Centre for Fetal Care, Division of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, London, UK
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  • N. M. Fisk

    1. Centre for Fetal Care, Division of Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, London, UK
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Abstract

Objective

Monoamniotic twinning occurs in only 1% of twin pregnancies, but carries a high perinatal mortality rate. Early and reliable diagnosis is essential if attempts are to be made to reduce the complication rate. We report color Doppler demonstration of cord entanglement in the first trimester, which is diagnostic of monoamnionicity.

Methods

Two patients with twin pregnancies were examined in the first trimester with pulsed and color Doppler insonation of their umbilical arteries.

Results

Cord entanglement was suspected and proved by demonstrating differing fetal heart rate patterns in the same direction on umbilical artery Doppler analysis of a common mass of cord vessels. Following appropriate counselling, medical amnioreduction was induced at 20 weeks of gestation to reduce fetal movements and worsening cord entanglement. Delivery was by elective Cesarean section at 32 weeks' gestation and monoamnionicity was confirmed.

Conclusion

We report a new sign for the demonstration of monoamnionicity in twin pregnancies in the first trimester. This should improve the reliability of early diagnosis, but further studies are required to confirm that, if cord entanglement occurs, it is usually present by the end of the first trimester. Copyright © 1999 International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology

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