Babies survive twin to twin transfusion at just 16 weeks in utero

Babies survive twin to twin transfusion at just 16 weeks in utero
Dr. Cliff Moore, a Maternal Fetal Surgeon at Woman's Hospital, performed a twin to twin transfusion on Marley and Remy at the gestational age of 16 weeks.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

It’s double the giggles and grins for a Grosse Tete family. They welcomed newborns despite a high-risk pregnancy, which included a complicated, rare procedure.

Twin to Twin transfusion

Twin sisters, Marley and Remy, relied on each other to survive before they were even born.

Trey Comeaux and Amanda Johnson are first time parents but they knew to question things when Johnson started to look like she was further along. “I probably looked at three months like I was six months just because of the fluid build up,” said Johnson.

At just 12 weeks, an ultrasound showed a scary situation. “They said they could only hear one heartbeat,” said Johnson. "From there, we realized something wasn’t right.”

They were told their girls have twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).

TWIN TO TWIN TRANSFUSION SYNDROME

  • TTTS is a rare condition in pregnancy where one twin passes blood volume to the other twin, creating complications for both babies
  • The MFM team at Woman’s Hospital is able to diagnose and treat the condition through laser therapy

“These are identical twins. We expect them to grow the same. We expect them to have the same amount of fluid, so when we see one not growing the same as the other one, more importantly if we see one baby that has a lot more fluid than the other, then we start thinking that we have twin to twin going on," said Dr. Cliff Moore, maternal fetal specialist.

“If it develops and it’s not treated, the chance of loss is probably about 90 percent. If you find it, the chance of success is probably about 90 percent, so it’s a real big game changer.”

Twin to twin syndrome only happens with identical twins, who share the same placenta.

“The placenta has a bunch of blood vessels from one baby to the other and in some cases, probably about 10 percent of the time, we’ll see one baby actually start to give all of it’s blood away, especially to the other baby,” said Dr. Moore.

Typically, the earlier it happens, the worse the outcome because it’s harder to intervene. “The intervention that Amanda had, we did it about as early as you could do it. When we went in at 16 weeks, the babies were somewhere in the ballpark of about 6 ounces each, so very, very small."

To perform twin to twin transfusion, Dr. Moore cuts a small incision in the mother’s belly and inserts a laser he uses to close the vessels shared between the twins. “We were very fortunate with her that her membranes didn’t rupture. That was the real key point and that’s why she was on bed rest for a long time,” said Dr. Moore.

“I was on bed rest for six months. I was making sure I was having these babies," said Johnson.

Johnson delivered two healthy girls. They were in the NICU at Woman’s Hospital for about a month, but now, everyone is home and doing fine.

Despite their shared connection, Marley and Remy, now a few months old, have developed different personalities. “Marley is a spitfire. She’s always the most active. She held her head up first,” bragged Johnson. “Remy is laid back. She just wants to be held and fed. She likes to eat and sleep.”

“Miracles can happen. This is proof right here," said Comeaux.

And this Thanksgiving, they have twice as much to be thankful for.

“I’m outnumbered for sure,” said Comeaux. “But it’s awesome.”

Maternal Fetal Medicine is available at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. Woman’s has the largest NICU in the state with 84 beds and serves as a Level III Regional Referral Center. As a Level III Regional Referral Center, Woman’s is part of a select group of hospitals in the nation that can provide quality care for the smallest and sickest babies.

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