Elective fetal reduction by radiofrequency ablation in monochorionic diamniotic twins decreases adverse outcomes compared to ongoing monochorionic diamniotic twins

Manasa G. Rao, Luciana Vieira, Elianna Kaplowitz, Jessica R. Overbey, Shaelyn Johnson, Keisha Paul, Robert Lookstein, Andrei Rebarber, Nathan S. Fox, Joanne Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Multifetal pregnancy reduction is a technique used to reduce the fetal number to mitigate the risks of adverse outcomes associated with multiple gestations. Monochorionic diamniotic twin pregnancies are subject to unique complications, contributing to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Thus, patients have an option to electively reduce 1 fetus to improve outcomes. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to compare outcomes of elective reduction of monochorionic diamniotic twins by radiofrequency ablation to planned ongoing monochorionic diamniotic twins. STUDY DESIGN: We performed a retrospective review of 315 monochorionic diamniotic twin gestations that underwent first-trimester ultrasound within 1 institution. Planned electively reduced twins were compared with ongoing monochorionic diamniotic twins. All reductions were performed via radiofrequency ablation of the cord insertion site into the fetal abdomen. The primary outcome was preterm birth at <36 weeks’ gestation. Secondary outcomes included gestational age at delivery; preterm birth at less than 37-, 34-, 32-, and 28-weeks’ gestation; unintended loss; and adverse perinatal outcomes. RESULTS: Among 315 monochorionic diamniotic pregnancies, 14 (4.4%) underwent elective multifetal pregnancy reduction, and 301 (95.6%) were planned ongoing twins. The mean gestational age of radiofrequency ablation in the elective multifetal pregnancy reduction group was 15.1±0.68 weeks. Patients who underwent elective multifetal pregnancy reduction had significantly higher maternal age (P<.01) and were more likely to be Asian (P<.01). Moreover, they were more likely to have undergone in vitro fertilization (P=.03) and chorionic villus sampling (P<.01). There was a significantly higher rate of term deliveries in the elective radiofrequency ablation group compared with ongoing twins (gestational age, 38 weeks [interquartile range, 36.1–39.1] vs 35.9 weeks [interquartile range, 34.0–36.9]; P<.01). Patients with ongoing pregnancies had a trend of increased rate of preterm birth at <36 weeks’ gestation (odds ratio, 3.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.0–12.0; P=.06), a significantly increased risk of preterm birth at <37 weeks’ gestation (odds ratio, 8.0; 95% confidence interval, 2.4–26.4; P<.01), and no difference at less than 34-, 32-, or 28- weeks’ gestation. All patients who underwent elective radiofrequency ablation had successful pregnancies with no pregnancy losses or terminations. Of ongoing gestations, 36 required procedures, including 16 (5.3%) medically indicated radiofrequency ablation, 14 (4.6%) laser ablation, and 6 (1.9%) amnioreductions. Furthermore, 22 patients (7.3%) with planned ongoing twins had total pregnancy loss at <24 weeks’ gestation. Notably, 12 patients (4.0%) had unintended loss of 1 fetus before 24 weeks’ gestation in the ongoing pregnancy cohort, and 12 patients (4.0%) had unintended loss of both fetuses before 24 weeks’ gestation. Moreover, 5 patients (1.7%) in the ongoing pregnancy group had intrauterine fetal demise at >24 weeks’ gestation and 10 patients (3.3%) electively terminated both fetuses. There was no significant difference in loss rates between the 2 groups. CONCLUSION: In this study of monochorionic diamniotic twins, patients who elected to undergo multifetal pregnancy reduction had significantly lower rates of preterm birth at <37 weeks and a lower trend of preterm birth at <36 weeks’ gestation without an increased risk of pregnancy loss. Median gestational age at delivery was significantly higher in the elective multifetal pregnancy reduction group (38 weeks) than in the ongoing pregnancy group (35.9 weeks). Further research is needed to clarify if multifetal pregnancy reduction improves long-term outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100447
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics & gynecology MFM
Volume3
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • elective multifetal pregnancy reduction
  • laser
  • monochorionic
  • multiple gestation
  • prematurity
  • preterm birth
  • radiofrequency ablation
  • selective fetal growth restriction
  • twin anemia polycythemia sequence
  • twin pregnancy outcomes
  • twin reversed arterial perfusion
  • twin-twin transfusion syndrome

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