A randomized trial of amnioreduction versus septostomy in the treatment of twin-twin transfusion syndrome

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Sep;193(3 Pt 1):701-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2005.01.067.


Objective: Left untreated, severe twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) presenting in the early second trimester of pregnancy is often associated with significant maternal morbidity and almost universal perinatal loss. Removal of excessive amounts of amniotic fluid through serial amniocenteses (amnioreduction) has been the mainstay of therapy. We sought to compare amnioreduction to intentional perforation of the intervening twin membrane (septostomy).

Study design: Pregnant women with TTTS before 24 weeks' gestation were randomly assigned to serial amnioreduction or septostomy. A single puncture technique under ultrasound guidance was used for the septostomy. The primary outcome measure was survival to neonatal discharge, and was assessed based on the number of pregnancies or the number of fetuses as appropriate.

Results: The study was terminated at the planned interim analysis stage after 73 women were enrolled. This was because the rate of survival of at least 1 infant was similar in the amnioreduction group compared to the septostomy group (78% vs 80% of pregnancies, respectively; RR=0.94, 95%CI 0.55-1.61; P=.82). Patient undergoing septostomy were more likely to require a single procedure for treatment (64% vs 46%; P=.04).

Conclusion: Although overall perinatal survival is not enhanced, septostomy offers the advantage of often requiring a single procedure compared to serial amnioreduction in the treatment of severe twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid*
  • Extraembryonic Membranes / surgery*
  • Female
  • Fetofetal Transfusion / surgery
  • Fetofetal Transfusion / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Retreatment