Open Access Research article

Prognosis and long-term neurodevelopmental outcome in conservatively treated twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome

Xiangqun Li1, Seiichi Morokuma2*, Kotaro Fukushima2, Yuka Otera2, Yasuo Yumoto2, Kiyomi Tsukimori4, Masayuki Ochiai3, Toshiro Hara3 and Norio Wake2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Kyushu University Hospital, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan

3 Department of Pediatrics, Kyushu University Hospital, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan

4 Fukuoka Children's Hospital, Fukuoka, Japan

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2011, 11:32  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-11-32

Published: 22 April 2011



Amnioreduction remains a treatment option for pregnancies with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) not meeting criteria for laser surgery or those in which it is not feasible. Amnioreduction is a relatively simple treatment which does not require sophisticated technical equipment. Previous reports of conservative management have indicated that major neurodevelopmental impairment occurs in 14.3-26% of survivors. The purpose of this study was to investigate long-term neurodevelopmental outcome in conservatively treated TTTS.


During the nine-year study period from January 1996 to December 2004, all pregnancies with TTTS who were admitted to our center were investigated. TTTS was diagnosed by using standard prenatal ultrasound criteria, and staged according to the criteria of Quintero et al. We reviewed gestational age at diagnosis, gestational age at delivery, the stage of TTTS at diagnosis, and diagnosis to delivery interval. Neonatal cranial ultrasound findings were reviewed and the neurodevelopmental outcomes were evaluated.


Twenty-one pregnancies with TTTS were included. Thirteen pregnancies (62%) were treated with serial amnioreduction. The mean gestational age at delivery was 28 weeks (22 - 34 weeks). The perinatal mortality rate was 42.9%. Twenty survivors were followed up until at least 3 years of age. The mean age at follow-up was 6.3 years (3 - 12 years). Six children (30%) had neurodevelopmental impairment. Four children (20%) had major neurodevelopmental impairment and two children (10%) had minor neurodevelopmental impairment. Children with neurodevelopmental impairment were delivered before 29 weeks of gestation.


Our study showed a high rate of perinatal mortality and a high rate of major neurodevelopmental impairment in conservatively treated TTTS. The long-term outcomes for the survivors with TTTS were good when survivors were delivered after 29 weeks of gestation.

fetus; TTTS; long-term outcome