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Single Intrauterine Death in Twins: The Importance of Fetal Order

  • Penelope L. Ward (a1), Karen L. Reidy (a2), Ricardo Palma-Dias (a2) (a3), Lex W. Doyle (a3) (a4) (a5) and Mark P. Umstad (a3) (a6)...

Abstract

Perinatal mortality is higher in twins. Effects of twin order have not previously been studied in the context of single fetal demise. Our objective was to determine whether death of the fetus more proximal to the cervix will result in worse perinatal outcomes. Our population included multiple pregnancies with two viable fetuses confirmed prior to 20 weeks’ gestation with the subsequent death of at least one twin. All the pregnancies were managed at The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne between 2006 and 2014. We excluded pregnancies of higher order multiples, the death of both twins simultaneously, and cases with incomplete outcome data. Maternal and neonatal data were reviewed. Of 46 pregnancies included, in 24 (52%), the dead twin was presenting. Gestational age at delivery was significantly earlier in these cases (mean difference: -5.0 weeks, 95% CI [-7.4, -2.6], p < .001), and emergency cesarean rates were higher 67% versus 32% (OR 4.29, 95% CI [1.25, 14.7], p = .02). There were no differences in the frequency of chorioamnionitis, preterm prelabor rupture of membranes, or placental abruption. Survival rates for co-twins were similar in both groups (presenting 83%; not presenting 91%; OR 0.41, 95% CI [0.07, 2.50], p = .29). The increase in neonatal morbidities was related to prematurity rather than to order. Findings were more common in dichorionic twins. Analysis was limited by a small sample size. If the dead twin is presenting, delivery is likely to occur earlier, with associated morbidity for the survivors. This is especially relevant for dichorionic twin pregnancies.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Dr Penelope Ward, MD, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia. E-mail: penelopeleilaward@gmail.com

References

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Keywords

Single Intrauterine Death in Twins: The Importance of Fetal Order

  • Penelope L. Ward (a1), Karen L. Reidy (a2), Ricardo Palma-Dias (a2) (a3), Lex W. Doyle (a3) (a4) (a5) and Mark P. Umstad (a3) (a6)...

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