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Twin to Twin Transfusion

Twin to Twin Transfusion services offered in Chicago, IL

Some pregnancies require more advanced care, including those shaped by a condition called twin-to-twin transfusion. Treating this condition is one of many services available from Dr. Suwan Mehra, MD, who serves Chicago and Park Ridge, Illinois, areas. If you’d like more information about this condition and how to get the highest level of care, call the office today to book a visit or schedule online at your earliest convenience.

Twin to Twin Transfusion Q&A

What is twin-to-twin transfusion?

Twin-to-twin transfusion is a condition that sometimes occurs with monochorionic twins, those that share one placenta. Twins with this rare condition don’t receive the same volume of blood flow from their mother. 

The placenta is an organ that contains a network of blood vessels that delivers nutrients and oxygen to developing babies. When these blood vessels are unevenly distributed, one twin may begin to transfer blood to the other.

This causes problems for the “donor” twin, as insufficient blood sometimes leads to malnourishment. That twin’s body attempts to compensate for insufficient blood by directing blood to the brain and heart, leaving other organs (like kidneys) without adequate blood, which makes it difficult to produce enough urine. 

The “recipient” twin also suffers. Getting too much blood prompts the heart to work harder and leads to excessive urination, creating an enlarged bladder and increasing the volume of amniotic fluid.

How is twin-to-twin transfusion diagnosed?

Twin-to-twin transfusion usually develops between weeks 16 and 26 of pregnancy. Routine ultrasound imaging often reveals signs of the condition.

If Dr. Mehra suspects twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, more advanced testing is used to  examine the volume of amniotic fluid for each fetus as well as the size and/or weight of each fetus.  Through his comittent to patient education, Dr. Mehra and his team review all treatment options with the families in his care, allowing them to make the most informed decisions for their babies. 

What can be done to improve twin-to-twin transfusion?

One approach to treating this condition seeks to balance blood flow between fetuses. Laser therapy works by using a fiber-optic scope to identify which blood vessels are creating the abnormal blood transfer. 

Dr. Mehra uses a carefully controlled laser beam to coagulate some of those blood vessels. This alters the transfer of blood from one fetus to the other, creating a healthier balance. 

Removing excessive amniotic fluid also helps take the stress off the “recipient” fetus, reducing the work load on baby's heart. This process, known as amnioreduction, reduces the risk of early labor and often helps make the mother more comfortable. 

If you’d like more information, schedule a visit with Dr. Suwan Mehra, MD, with a phone call to the friendly office staff, or take a few moments to book online today.