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OBJECTIVES: To assess whether early fetal growth restriction in a twin, expressed as the intertwin discrepancy in crown-rump length (CRL) between two viable twins at 7 + 0 to 9 + 6 weeks' gestation, is predictive of subsequent single fetal loss. METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of data collected prospectively over 3 years. Women attending an early pregnancy unit underwent a transvaginal ultrasound examination. In women with a viable twin pregnancy between 7 + 0 and 9 + 6 weeks of gestation, the CRL ratio between the two embryos was calculated. Women were followed up and the intertwin discrepancy in CRL at the 7 + 0 to 9 + 6-week scan was compared between cases in which there was spontaneous reduction to a singleton and those in which both twins remained viable at the 11-14-week scan. RESULTS: There were 77 women included in the study and nine (12%) of these had a single fetal loss. Pregnancies with subsequent single fetal loss were more likely to have a larger median CRL discrepancy (42.0%; interquartile range (IQR), 23.8-64.3%) than were those which retained two viable fetuses (6.1%; IQR, 2.2-12.5%) (P < 0.0001). The median CRL discrepancy in subsequently viable monochorionic diamniotic twins (10.9%; IQR, 1.9-17.5%) was no different from that in dichorionic diamniotic twin pregnancies (5.9%; IQR, 2.1-12.3%) (P = 0.305). Regardless of chorionicity, there was a relationship between increasing CRL discrepancy and single fetal loss; the likelihood of a subsequently viable twin pregnancy was 97% if the discrepancy was < 20%, while if the discrepancy was > 60% there were no cases of both twins remaining viable (P < 0.0001). Receiver-operating characteristics curve analysis of CRL discrepancy in predicting single fetal loss gave an area under the curve of 0.93, with an optimum cut-off point of 16.9% discrepancy (sensitivity, 88.9%; 95% CI, 51.8-99.7; and specificity, 86.7%; 95% CI, 76.3-93.8). CONCLUSION: There is a significant relationship between CRL discrepancy at 7 + 0 to 9 + 6 weeks and the likelihood of subsequent single intrauterine fetal loss. This suggests that spontaneous fetal demise of one twin may be preceded by growth restriction in the first trimester.

Original publication

DOI

10.1002/uog.6422

Type

Journal article

Journal

Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol

Publication Date

07/2009

Volume

34

Pages

38 - 42

Keywords

Abortion, Spontaneous, Adult, Crown-Rump Length, Female, Fetal Development, Fetal Growth Retardation, Gestational Age, Humans, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Outcome, Pregnancy Trimester, First, Retrospective Studies, Twins, Ultrasonography, Prenatal