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What Are the Available Treatments for TTTS

Treating the Symptoms

Therapeutic Reduction Amniocentesis: This is the 'most widely available therapy' and involves draining the excess amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) by inserting a needle into the amniotic sac of the recipient. It relieves the mother's abdominal discomfort, and prolongs TTTS pregnancies by reducing the risk of spontaneous rupture of the membranes or premature labor from the enlarged uterus. In addition, by reducing the pressure inside the womb, it has been reported to change the nature of the transfusion in some TTTS cases. Survival rates with amniocenteses approach 80% in some centers, but health status of surviving infants are not always reported. Recent reports (see section of Medical Research and Articles) indicate a 60-75% survival rate with amniocentesis, but 10-30% of the survivors have had neurological (brain) abnormalities when ultrasounds were performed in the nursery. Since the babies remain connected, there is the continuing transfusion process between the twins (both chronic and acute). This may explain the higher rate of medical problems in the surviving babies than methods that disconnect the babies.

Amniotic Septostomy: This is the intentional creation of a hole in the membrane septum between the babies' bags of water with a needle during ultrasound scanning. It allows for some of the excess amniotic fluid in the recipient's bag of water to enter the sac of the donor who usually has no to very little amniotic fluid. In one report of 12 TTTS cases, the septostomy to delivery interval was 8.5 weeks and 83% (20/214) of the twins survived. The health of the surviving twins was not given. The babies remain connected with this, and there is now the additional risks associated with twins who sit in the same sac (monoamnionic) such as possible umbilical cord entanglement.

Medication Therapy: Several drugs have been used in TTTS cases for various purposes. These include:

Bullet Point Digoxin Therapy for Fetal Heart Failure: Here doctors give this heart medication as pills to the mother, or inject it directly into the twin that is showing signs of heart failure. Giving this medication may help the heart beat stronger when it is overloaded with blood.
Bullet Point Indomethacin Therapy to Curtail Amniotic Fluid Production: Here doctors also give this mediation to the mother hoping to decrease the urine output in the recipient and lessen the amount of polyhydramious. Indomethacin is an aspirin-like medication (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) with numerous side effects in the baby, one of which is on the kidney where decreased urine production occurs. It is the most powerful drug for treating pre-term labor and is used more often for this purpose in TTTS. When used as a single treatment for TTTS cases, the results have been disappointing.
Bullet Point Tocolytic Medications to Stop Premature Labor: In addition to indomethacin, there are several other drugs that are used in TTTS cases to stop labor.

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Sophie and Sara

Sophie and Sara

I underwent the laser surgery on August 14th, 2002, at only 18 1/2 weeks of pregnancy. In the operating room, Dr. De Lia keeps prayer cards of Saints Gerard and Jude, the patron Saints of pregnancy and hopeless causes. Just before the surgery, we said a prayer together and asked St. Gerard to help our babies stay strong. I drifted off under the anesthesia, knowing that I was in the hands of a faith-filled surgeon who is totally dedicated to saving little twin babies with TTTS. On December 15th, 2002, over eighteen weeks after their in-utero surgery, our beautiful little angels Sophie and Sara were born

Katie, Mother of Sophie and Sara

The TTTS Foundation In The News


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Raise Donations on Facebook

This is a fantastic and easy way to support the fight against TTTS and bring help and hope to families
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Learn about TAPS- MUST do MCA dopplers on all pregnancies

A form of TTTS, TAPS can occur after laser surgery or during a monochorionic pregnancy with no signs of TTTS or problems.
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Updated List of Questions

Questions to Ask at Every Ultrasound. Ultrasounds Must Be Weekly Starting at 16 Weeks.
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World Awareness Day - Dec. 7 2010

TTTS Walk for the babies

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