Selective reduction of acardiac twin by radiofrequency ablation

KuoJen Tsao, Vickie A. Feldstein, Craig T. Albanese, Per L. Sandberg, Hanmin Lee, Michael R. Harrison, Diana L Farmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Acardiac/acephalic twinning is a rare anomaly in which a normal "pump" twin perfuses an acardiac twin, which results in twin reversed arterial perfusion sequence. A novel technique for selective reduction and obliteration of blood flow in the acardiac twin is described. STUDY DESIGN: Thirteen consecutive cases of monochorionic twin gestation with twin reversed arterial perfusion sequence underwent selective reduction of the abnormal twin with the use of radiofrequency ablation. Under direct real-time sonographic guidance, a 3-mm (14-gauge) radiofrequency ablation needle was percutaneously inserted through the maternal abdominal wall into the intrauterine fetal abdomen at the level of the cord insertion site of the acardiac twin. Energy was applied until termination of blood flow to the acardiac fetus was documented by Doppler ultrasound scanning. RESULTS: All 13 mothers tolerated the procedure without major complications. All 13 "pump" fetuses have been delivered. Twelve of 13 infants are alive and well. The first patient in this series was delivered at 24.4 weeks and the infant subsequently died from complications of prematurity. Average gestational age at intervention was 20.7 weeks, and the average gestational age at delivery was 36.2 weeks. CONCLUSION: Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive, percutaneous technique that can effectively obliterate blood supply to an acardiac twin to preserve and protect the pump twin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-640
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2002


  • Acardiac
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • TRAP sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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