Fetal reduction in triplet gestations: twins still fare better

Isr Med Assoc J. 2013 Dec;15(12):745-7.


Background: Reduction of fetal number has been offered in high order multiple gestations but is still controversial in triplets. Since recent advances in neonatal and obstetric care have greatly improved outcome, the benefits of multifetal pregnancy reduction (MFPR) may no longer exist in triplet gestations.

Objectives: To evaluate if fetal reduction of triplets to twins improves outcome.

Methods: We analyzed the outcome of 80 triplet gestations cared for at Rambam Health Care Campus in the last decade; 34 families decided to continue the pregnancy as triplets and 46 opted for MFPR to twins.

Results: The mean gestational age at delivery was 32.3 weeks for triplets and 35.6 weeks for twins after MFPR. Severe prematurity (delivery before 32 gestational weeks) occurred in 37.5% and 7% of twins. Consequently, the rate of severe neonatal morbidity (respiratory distress syndrome, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, intraventricular hemorrhage) and of neonatal death was significantly higher in unreduced triplets, as was the length of hospitalization in the neonatal intensive care unit (31.4 vs. 15.7, respectively). Overall, the likelihood of a family with triplets to take home all three neonates was 80%; the likelihood to take home three healthy babies was 71.5%.

Conclusions: MFPR reduces the risk of severe prematurity and the neonatal morbidity of triplets. A secondary benefit is the reduction of cost of care per survivor. Our results indicate that MFPR should be offered in triplet gestations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / classification
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / etiology
  • Israel
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Reduction, Multifetal* / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy Reduction, Multifetal* / methods
  • Pregnancy Reduction, Multifetal* / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy, Triplet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy, Twin / statistics & numerical data*
  • Premature Birth* / epidemiology
  • Premature Birth* / etiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Triplets / statistics & numerical data
  • Twins / statistics & numerical data