Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, or TTTS, is a disease of the placenta. This condition affects twins or other multiples that share a single placenta containing blood vessels going from one baby to the other.
Blood from the smaller "donor" twin is transferred to the larger "recipient" twin through interconnecting vessels causing an unequal exchange of blood.
The recipient twin is at risk for heart failure receiving too much blood from both the placenta and donor twin, forcing its heart to work harder, while the donor twin is at risk for loss of blood.
Laser surgery may be performed to correct the problem. A laser is endoscopically inserted into the womb to burn and seal the interconnecting blood vessels, restoring the normal flow of blood. Following treatment, the babies are regularly monitored.
Update Date 8/5/2013
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.