Hypothesis acardiac twin pregnancies: Pathophysiology-based hypotheses suggest risk prediction by pump/acardiac umbilical venous diameter ratios
SourceBirth Defects Research Part A-Clinical and Molecular Teratology, 106, 2, (2016), pp. 114-21
Article / Letter to editor
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Birth Defects Research Part A-Clinical and Molecular Teratology
SubjectRadboudumc 10: Reconstructive and regenerative medicine RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
BACKGROUND: A total of 75% of monozygotic twins share 1 monochorionic placenta where placental anastomoses cause several serious complications, for example, acardiac twinning. Acardiac twins lack cardiac function but grow by perfusion of arterial blood from the pump twin. This rare pregnancy has 50% natural pump twin mortality but accurate risk prediction is currently impossible. Recent guidelines suggest prophylactic surgery before 18 weeks, suggesting 50% unnecessary interventions. We hypothesize that (1) adverse pump twin outcome relates to easy-to-measure pump/acardiac umbilical venous diameter (UVD) ratios, representing acardiac perfusion by the pump's excess cardiac output. This hypothesis suggests that (2) UVD-ratios are large, mildly varying in cases without complications but small and decreasing when complications develop, thus predicting that (3) UVD-ratios may allow risk prediction of pump twins. In this exploratory clinical pilot, we tested whether UVD-ratio measurements support these predictions. METHODS: We included 7 uncomplicated (expectant management), 3 elective surgical, and 17 complicated cases (pump decompensation, emergency intervention/delivery or demise). Nine UVD-ratios were measured sonographycally and 18 by pathology. RESULTS: Uncomplicated cases have larger, two serial measurements showing mildly varying UVD-ratios; elective surgical cases show larger UVD-ratios; complicated cases have smaller, two serial measurements showing decreasing UVD-ratios. There were no false-positives, no false-negatives and noncrossing linear trendlines of uncomplicated and complicated cohorts. CONCLUSION: Our data provide first evidence that UVD-ratios allow risk prediction of pump twins. More early uncomplicated and late complicated cases are needed, for example, in a prospective trial, before the separation between uncomplicated and complicated cohorts is accurate enough to support a well-founded decision on (early) intervention. Birth Defects Research (Part A) 106:114-121, 2016. (c) 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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