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Early Changes in Vascular Dynamics in Relation to Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome

  • Helena M. Gardiner (a1)

Abstract

Aclearer understanding of the early determinants of normal and abnormal vascular development is pivotal in order to identify those at increased risk of later vascular disease, and perhaps to prevent it by early intervention. Measurement of pulse wave velocity(PWV) has been used in the postnatal evaluation of the monochorionic(MC) twins. They are genetically identical and those with twin-twin transfusion syndrome(TTTS) provide an ideal natural model in whom to study the influence of differing haemodynamic stresses on the developing vascular tree. We investigated firstly whether surviving twin pairs with TTTS have altered arterial distensibility in childhood by comparing PWV in the radial arteries of surviving MC twin pairs with TTTS and in two control groups, one cohort of MC twins without TTTS and another dichorionic group (DC) Secondly, we tested a cohort of TTTS twin pair survivors treated with laser photocoagulation. The co-twin pairs in the group managed palliatively with amnioreduction showed increased PWV in the donor and reduced PWV in the recipient twins. This was neither seen in the laser-treated, nor in the control groups. Our studies suggest that a period of haemodynamic imbalance gives rise to changes in a muscular conduit artery that persist at least into infancy and it seems that by correcting the abnormal haemodynamics relatively soon after the disease process had begun, the alterations in elasticity are prevented. These studies are the first to demonstrate fetal programming of the vascular bed in humans, and prevention or reversal of this programming by an intervention in mid-gestation.

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Corresponding author

*Address for correspondence: Dr Helena Gardiner MD FRCP, FRCPCH, DCH, Senior Lecturer in Perinatal Cardiology, Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital, Hammersmith Campus, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK.

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Early Changes in Vascular Dynamics in Relation to Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome

  • Helena M. Gardiner (a1)

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