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Placental characteristics in monochorionic twins with spontaneous versus post-laser twin anemia-polycythemia sequence

DOI: 10.1016/j.placenta.2013.02.005
  • Twin Anemia-Polycythemia Sequence
  • Placental Angioarchitecture
  • Medicine


Abstract Introduction Twin anemia-polycythemia sequence (TAPS) may occur in monochorionic twins either spontaneously or after laser surgery for twin–twin transfusion syndrome. Our aim was to analyze the placental angioarchitecture in spontaneous versus post-laser TAPS. Methods We included all monochorionic twin placentas with spontaneous or post-laser TAPS injected at our center between 2002 and 2012. Placental angioarchitecture was evaluated using colored dye injection. Results A total of 600 monochorionic placentas were injected during the study period of which 43 (7.2%) with TAPS (spontaneous TAPS, n = 16; post-laser TAPS, n = 27). Almost all anastomoses (96%; 119/124) were very small (diameter <1 mm) and the majority was localized near the placental margin. The median number of anastomoses per placenta was 4 (interquartile range (IQR): 3–5) in the spontaneous TAPS group and 2 (IQR: 1–3) in the post-laser TAPS group (p = 0.003). Arterio-arterial (AA) anastomoses were detected in 14.0% (6/43) of TAPS placentas and were all minuscule (diameter <1 mm). The rate of AA anastomoses in the spontaneous TAPS group and post-laser TAPS group was 18.8% (3/16) and 11.1% (3/27), respectively (p = 0.184). Discussion Spontaneous TAPS placentas have a significantly higher total number of anastomoses compared to post-laser TAPS placentas. Most anastomoses were localized near the margins of the placenta. Minuscule AA anastomoses were detected sporadically in both groups and the rate of AA anastomoses is slightly higher in the spontaneous TAPS group than in the post-laser group. Conclusion Spontaneous TAPS placentas have a different placental angioarchitecture than post-laser TAPS placentas in terms of number and type of vascular anastomoses.

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