Neurodevelopmental outcome in twin anemia-polycythemia sequence after laser surgery for twin-twin transfusion syndrome

F Slaghekke, J M M van Klink, H M Koopman, J M Middeldorp, D Oepkes, E Lopriore
Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology 2014, 44 (3): 316-21

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the long-term neurodevelopmental outcome in children who developed twin anemia-polycythemia sequence (TAPS) after fetoscopic laser surgery for twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

METHODS: Neurological, motor and cognitive development was assessed in a consecutive cohort of TTTS survivors treated with laser surgery between 2004 and 2011 and complicated by post-laser TAPS. Primary outcome was neurodevelopmental impairment, a composite outcome including any of the following: cerebral palsy, bilateral deafness, blindness, severe motor and/or cognitive developmental delay (>2 SD below the mean). A risk analysis on cognitive outcome was performed.

RESULTS: During the study period, 33/306 (11%) monochorionic twin pairs developed TAPS after laser surgery for TTTS. Survival was 53/66 (80%). Long-term outcome was assessed in 47/53 (89%) children. The incidence of neurodevelopmental impairment was 4/47 (9%), occurring in one donor (1/20; 5%) and three recipients (3/27; 11%) (P=0.63). Mild-to-moderate cognitive delay, i.e. scores below 85, was detected in 8/47 (17%) children. Risk factors for low cognitive scores were low gestational age at birth (P=0.02) and low birth weight (P<0.01). The lowest cognitive scores were detected in the subgroup of TAPS survivors treated with intrauterine transfusion (median score, 82.5).

CONCLUSIONS: Neurodevelopmental impairment and cognitive delay were found in almost one in five children surviving post-laser TAPS. Better treatment and, ideally, prevention of this complication after laser treatment for TTTS is urgently needed.

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