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Twin-to-twin transfusion is a condition that can develop in two or
more fetuses who share the same placenta. In this condition, abnormal blood
vessels develop in the placenta and move blood from one twin to another.
The risks of twin-to-twin transfusion include stillbirth of one or
both twins or severe complications in one or both twins after birth.
When blood shifts from one fetus (the donor) through the placenta
to the other fetus (the recipient), the donor twin may:
The recipient twin may:
Twin-to-twin transfusion is suspected when a fetal ultrasound shows
that one twin is much larger than the other.
Treatment can include amniocentesis to remove excess amniotic
fluid. After birth, the donor twin may require a blood transfusion while the
recipient twin may need to have some blood removed. Both twins may need
treatment for heart failure.
Current as of:
May 30, 2016
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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