Objective: To report our experience with intentional puncture of the intervening membrane ('septostomy') for the treatment of the twin oligohydramnios-polyhydramnios sequence (TOPS).
Methods: 12 patients were diagnosed with TOPS based on ultrasonographic findings. A 20- to 22-gauge spinal needle was used to puncture the membrane between the twins without any attempt at amnioreduction in 9 patients, while the procedure was combined with amnioreductions in 3 patients.
Results: Gestational age was 23.1 +/- 3.3 weeks at the time of septostomy and 31.1 +/- 4.4 weeks at delivery. Rapid accumulation of fluid around the 'stuck' fetus occurred in all cases following a single procedure. Three of the 24 fetuses died in utero and 1 died on the fifth day of life, for a combined survival of 83.3%. In the survivors, the septostomy to delivery interval ranged between 0.6 and 13 weeks (mean +/- SD 8.3 +/- 4.8).
Conclusion: Amniotic septostomy is a promising new method for the management of TOPS and is associated with survival rates that are better than, or comparable to, more invasive modalities. A multicenter trial comparing septostomy to other modalities is warranted.