Endoscopic laser coagulation in the management of severe twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome


Correspondence: Dr Y. Ville, Fetal Medicine Unit, St. George's Hospital Medical School, Blackshaw Road, London SW 17 0QT, UK.


Objective To assess the clinical effectiveness of endoscopic laser coagulation of placental vessels in the

Design Prospective study.

Setting Three referral centres for the management of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

Population One hundred and thirty-two pregnancies complicated by severe twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, reflected by polyhydramnios and enlarged bladder of one twin and oligoanhydramnios and collapsed bladder of the other twin, presenting before 28 weeks of gestation.

Methods Prospective collection of data on pre-procedure assessment, the procedure and the follow up were collected prospectively. Laser coagulation of placental vessels crossing the intertwine membrane on the chorionic surface under sono-endoscopic guidance, followed by amniodrainage.

Main outcome measures Maternal and pregnancy complications, perinatal death and morbidity were assessed over the last five years with follow up of survivors.

Results Endoscopic laser was carried out at a median gestation of 21 weeks. The total number of surviving infants was 144 (55%) and there was at least one survivor in 97 cases (73%). At a minimum age of one year neurological handicap was suspected in six survivors (4.2%).

Conclusions The results of this multicentre study are similar to those in our original report on the first 45 cases. In comparison with serial amniodrainage, the survival rate may be similar, but the handicap rate in survivors appears much lower. This study stresses the need for a prospective study comparing treatment of severe transfusion syndrome threse two techniques.