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.
Review Date 5/10/2019
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.