Management of twin-twin transfusion syndrome in pregnancies with iatrogenic detachment of membranes following therapeutic amniocentesis and the role of interim amniopatch

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Nov;26(6):628-33. doi: 10.1002/uog.2600.


Objective: Detachment of membranes may occur after therapeutic amniocentesis for twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS). Subsequent amniocenteses or endoscopic fetal therapy may be hindered or made altogether impossible by this complication. The purpose of this study was to describe our experience in the assessment and management of TTTS patients with iatrogenic detached membranes (IDM).

Methods: Patients with IDM referred for fetal surgery for TTTS were considered ineligible for standard surgery and were offered different alternatives, including expectant management, serial amniocentesis, or an attempt at surgery with or without prior amniopatch. Pregnancy outcomes were compared between surgical and non-surgical patients.

Results: Nine hundred and forty-four patients with a diagnosis of TTTS were referred between July 1997 and December 2004, of whom 322 (34.1%) had a prior therapeutic amniocentesis. Twenty-six of the 322 patients (8%) had IDM. Ten patients opted to be managed with subsequent amniocenteses, two of which had an amniopatch. One patient had voluntary interruption of pregnancy. Fifteen patients underwent surgery, 10 of whom underwent an amniopatch. Overall, resealing of membranes occurred in 8/12 (66%) patients treated with an amniopatch. Survival of at least one fetus was greater in patients treated surgically with or without an amniopatch (12/15, 80% vs. 4/11, 36%, P = 0.04).

Conclusion: Membrane detachment is an important complication of therapeutic amniocentesis in the treatment of TTTS. Although successful treatment of IDM can be achieved with an interim amniopatch, this alternative is not without risks. Therapeutic amniocenteses should be discouraged in patients considering endoscopic fetal surgery for TTTS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amniocentesis / adverse effects*
  • Biological Dressings
  • Female
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture / etiology*
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture / prevention & control
  • Fetofetal Transfusion / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome