Twin-Twin Transfusion Medical Animation | Cincinnati Fetal Center


Twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is a rare but serious condition that can occur in pregnancies when identical twins, or more than two fetuses (triplets, quadruplets, etc.), share one placenta. Abnormal blood vessel connections form in the placenta and allow blood to flow unevenly between the fetuses. One fetus − called the donor (usually smaller in size) – receives less nutrients and oxygen than it should, becomes dehydrated, pees less and under fills its amniotic sac or water bag (oligohydramnios); while the other fetus − called the recipient (usually larger in size) − develops high blood pressure and produces too much urine and overfills its water bag (polyhydramnios). TTTS is a disease of the placenta, not the fetuses themselves, and affects each fetus differently. Without treatment, this condition can be fatal for the fetuses sharing the same placenta. Fetal surgery is sometimes necessary to save the affected fetuses. The standard therapy for TTTS is selective fetoscopic laser photocoagulation (SFLP), or laser surgery. During surgery, the laser is used to close off the blood vessels that connect the fetuses, and the excessive amount of fluid around the recipient (the larger fetus) is reduced to normal levels. While the outcome is not always perfect, laser surgery has been successful in improving the babies’ condition in majority of the cases. Receiving a diagnosis of TTTS is an emotional experience, and in some cases decisions about treatment must be made quickly. At the Cincinnati Fetal Center, we are here to help, providing a thorough, compassionate approach to each patient’s care. Credits: Cincinnati Children’s Media Lab (@CincyChildren’s) Animation: Jeff Cimprich, Matt Nelson, and Cat Musgrove Media Lab Direction: Ken Tegtmeyer MD & Ryan Moore MD Content Experts: Foong-Yen Lim, MD and William Polzin, MD Voice Over: Foong-Yen Lim, MD

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