THE twins were doing well in their mother’s womb till they were diagnosed with a condition known as Twin To Twin Transfusion Syndrome, around the 24th week of pregnancy.
This meant that the foetuses shared the placental wall and some critical blood vessels, leading to one child drawing blood from the other, posing a threat to both their lives.
Soon after the diagnosis last month, AIIMS decided to operate upon the foetuses inside their mother’s womb through a laser surgery. The Foetal Medicine department of AIIMS, formally recognised in January this year, has already performed various surgeries during pregnancy to ensure the babies are born healthy.
Professor of Gynecology and Chief of Foetal Medicine division at AIIMS Dr Dipika Deka said: “In this condition, each foetus uses its own part of the placenta but some blood vessels are shared, leading to transfer of blood from one to the other. As a result, one of them becomes disproportionately deficient, while the other receives an exaggerated blood supply which can cause cardiac complications.”
Unless surgically treated before 27 weeks of pregnancy, doctors say this condition can be life threatening for both foetuses or result in malformations.
“We performed a surgery where an instrument known as a foetoscope was inserted through a tiny incision to fire laser fibres that coagulated the shared blood vessels, blocking the blood supply,” Dr K Aparna Sharma, Consultant in Gynecology at AIIMS, said.
Both the babies were delivered healthy.
Other foetal surgeries performed at the institute include 14 cases of shunt surgeries for foetal bladder obstructions to help avert the need for kidney transplants after birth. Also, a twin diagnosed with Twins Reversed Arterial Perfusion Syndrome, where one malformed foetus takes in all the blood from the other, was also operated upon. The doctors managed to save the healthy baby.