Risk factors for fetomaternal bleeding after laser therapy for twin-twin transfusion syndrome

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To quantify and assess potential risk factors for transplacental passage of fetal red blood cells (RBCs) into the maternal circulation (fetomaternal bleeding, FMB) after laser surgery for twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

Study Design

A retrospective study of Rhesus-D negative patients that underwent laser surgery for TTTS. Patients with and without postoperative detectable fetal RBCs on Kleihauer-Betke (KB) testing were compared to determine risk factors for FMB. Patients were further sub-classified into those with a FMB < 20% and ≥20% of estimated fetoplacental blood volume.


Of 60 studied patients, 26/60 (43%) had a positive postoperative KB test. The median fetal:adult RBC ratio was 0.00125, estimated to be a FMB volume of 6.25 mL. There were 17/26 (65%) of patients with FMB < 20% and 9/26 (35%) patients with ≥20% of the fetoplacental blood volume. Stage III-Recipient and III-Recipient/Donor patients were more likely to have a positive KB test (14/21 [66.7%] vs 12/39 [30.8%], OR = 4.50 [1.27–16.54], P = 0.0162). No other risk factors for FMB were apparent.


Fetomaternal bleed appears to be a common finding after laser surgery for TTTS. TTTS Stage, particularly stage III-Recipient and III-Recipient/Donor, appears to be a risk factor for FMB.

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