Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome occurs in 15% of identical twin pregnancies with a shared placenta, approximately one in 2,700 pregnancies. Numerous cases may go unreported, since undetected TTTS sometimes leads to miscarriage.
The most severe forms of this syndrome develop in the middle of pregnancy, between 16-26 weeks of gestation.
Consequences of untreated twin-to-twin syndrome
The consequences are different for each twin.
For the recipient:
The recipient receives too much blood. Some blood vessels of the donor divide and run across the shared placenta to the recipient, who thus receives his own blood and additional blood from the other twin. This has the following effects:
For the donor:
The donor loses blood volume to the recipient via the connecting vessels and receives little blood in return. His development differs significantly from that of the recipient.
If twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome is detected in the middle of pregnancy and left untreated, there is an 80-100% chance of death of the twins due to miscarriage or intrauterine death.
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