Specialized procedure helps save twins before birth

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Specialized procedure helps save twins before birth
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Specialized procedure helps save twins before birth.

Kristina Kline's twin sons were born a few weeks ago. While they have some time before they're able to go home, their journey getting here was a challenging one.

Kline said, "At week 15, my husband and I live in New Orleans and we were following up with our high-risk maternal fetal medicine team and for the typical screens."

During that time, her sons were showing signs of twin to twin transfusion syndrome.

Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief, Dr. Michael Belfort said, "That is an abnormality on the surface of the placenta where twins that are identical twins have connections on both sides of the placenta that are causing one baby to transfuse blood to the other baby."

That means one twin is labeled the donor and could have a decreased amount of blood volume and nutrients. Meanwhile, the other twin becomes the recipient and may receive an overload of blood. That could put a strain on the baby's heart.

"This can kill both babies," Dr. Belfort said.

So it was advised that Kline should come to the Texas Children's Pavilion for Women for the procedure.

A laser ablation was needed to correct the condition.

It involves placing a scope into the amniotic fluid so doctors could identify the connections on the surface of the placenta.

Dr. Belfort said, "That way the placenta is separated into its two territories, so each baby has its own territory and they're no longer sharing connections on the surface of the placenta."

The procedure was performed around 17 weeks into Kline's pregnancy and it was a success. However, she needed to be monitored closely until they were born.

Kline said, "They've made great progress with feeding and interacting and breathing on their own. There's still things they're trying to figure out in the NICU."

Kline and her husband are grateful for the team at Texas Children's and are looking forward to the day both boys are able to go back home to New Orleans.

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