How is TRAP sequence treated?
The Colorado Fetal Care Center is one of the leading care centers for TRAP sequence in twin pregnancies and we have successfully treated more than 100 cases at our facility.
Treatment for TRAP sequence depends greatly on the severity of the impact on the normal twin. At the Colorado Fetal Care Center, we treat each patient as an individual and make recommendations based on what is best for that patient and his or her needs.
Treatment for TRAP sequence is needed only when there is risk to the normal twin's health. This risk is determined by how large the acardiac twin is in relation to the normal twin. In addition, we complete a thorough evaluation of how well the normal twin's heart is functioning. Treatment for TRAP sequence includes monitoring and possibly fetal intervention to save the life of the larger twin.
In the absence of any risk to the normal twin, we will recommend following the pregnancy closely by ultrasound. The ultrasound surveillance will ensure that the acardiac twin remains small and heart function of the normal twin remains strong throughout your pregnancy.
If the acardiac twin is large and there are signs of impending heart failure in the normal twin, we will recommend treatment. Treatment involves stopping blood flow to the acardiac twin to relieve the burden on the normal twin. This is accomplished by a procedure called radiofrequency ablation, or RFA. This procedure involves a small needle that is able to generate heat and is used to seal the blood vessels leading to the acardiac twin. In our experience, the "pump" twin survives 98% of the time following RFA for TRAP sequence.
In two-thirds of cases of twins with TRAP sequence, the pump and acardiac twins are in separate amniotic sacs. However, in one-third of cases, the babies share the same amniotic sac which may change the approach to treatment.
What is the long-term outlook for twins with TRAP sequence?
For twins found to be at risk of heart failure, there is a very high risk of losing the pregnancy. With treatment, however, survival is 98% and the average delivery occurs at 35 weeks. For those pregnancies that are at low risk for complications, outcomes are even better with term delivery expected.