Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology vol:24 issue:2 pages:159-63
OBJECTIVE: To assess the incidence of parenchymal lesions on early and late neonatal brain scans and its association with the presence or absence of intermittent absent or reversed end-diastolic umbilical artery flow velocity (A/REDV) in monochorionic twins complicated by selective intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), as compared to dichorionic twins and monochorionic twins without selective IUGR. METHODS: This was a prospective cohort study involving 42 monochorionic twins diagnosed with selective IUGR and managed expectantly. The presence or absence of intermittent A/REDV was recorded in all cases. This study group was compared to dichorionic twins (n = 29) and monochorionic twins without selective IUGR (n = 32) delivered at 26-34 weeks during the study period. All infants underwent an early neonatal brain scan (at or before the fourth day of postnatal life) and at least one follow-up scan during the first 28 days of postnatal life. Perinatal outcome and the incidence of neurological damage were compared between the study groups. RESULTS: The incidence of intrauterine fetal death (IUD) and periventricular leukomalacia was significantly increased in monochorionic twins complicated with selective IUGR, as compared with the other study groups. Intermittent A/REDV was observed in 22/42 (52.4%) twin pairs, and was always present in the growth-restricted twin. The incidence of IUD (overall 9/44 (20.5%) vs. 0/40, P < 0.001; smaller twin 6/22 (27.3%) vs. 0/20, P < 0.05) and parenchymal brain damage (overall 7/35 (20.0%) vs. 2/40 (5.0%), P = 0.07; larger twin 7/19 (36.8%) vs. 1/20 (5.0%), P < 0.05) was significantly higher in pregnancies with intermittent A/REDV than in those without intermittent A/REDV. Brain damage usually occurred in the larger twin, irrespective of whether the smaller twin was liveborn or not. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of intermittent A/REDV in monochorionic twins with selective IUGR identifies a subgroup with an elevated risk of intrauterine demise of the smaller twin and neurological damage in the larger twin; this latter finding is not restricted to cases with IUD of the cotwin.