American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology vol:194 issue:3 pages:790-5
OBJECTIVE: This study was undertaken to detect missed anastomoses on the chorionic surface as well as hidden connections in the depth of the cotyledons in placentas after laser coagulation for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) and to correlate these findings to clinical outcome. STUDY DESIGN: All cord vessels were injected with dyed barium sulphate. A digital photograph of the chorionic surface angioarchitecture and single-shot digital X-ray (Rx) angiograms were made. The presence and diameter of any missed anastomoses on the chorionic surface and of any hidden angiographic connections were determined. RESULTS: Fifty placentas were analyzed, 7 of double intrauterine fetal death (IUFD) and 43 of double survivors. In 9 of 43 (21%) cases with double survival and in all 7 cases of double IUFD, missed anastomoses were identified that should have been ablated by laser coagulation (P < .001). There appeared to be a correlation between the type and diameter of missed anastomoses on the chorionic surface and the clinical outcome. Placentas with missed large arteriovenous/venoarterial anastomoses (AV/VA) (N = 8) were from cases with recurrent TTTS or double IUFD (unless compensated by a large arterioarterial anastomosis [AA]). Next, missed small AV/VA (N = 4) without AA resulted in isolated (ie, without TTTS) discordant hemoglobin levels requiring intrauterine transfusion. Finally, when there were no missed anastomoses (N = 34), TTTS had resolved in all cases and outcome was good, although 1 case had discordant hemoglobin values treated with a single intrauterine transfusion and 4 others had discordant hemoglobin at birth. On Rx angiography, potential hidden connections were present, all but 1 case. CONCLUSION: Coagulation of all anastomoses visible on the chorionic surface seems adequate to treat TTTS. However, hidden connections in the depth of the cotyledon could not be excluded and may be involved in lesser degrees of intertwin transfusion.