Corniche Hospital's Advanced Fetal Medicine Unit successfully treats cases of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome
Abu Dhabi,December 07, 2021: Doctors at Corniche Hospital, part of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, (SEHA) – the UAE's largest healthcare network – have performed advanced laser procedures to save the lives of unborn identical twins suffering from a rare but potentially fatal condition.
As part of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) Awareness Day on 7th December, SEHA has shared the story of two women pregnant with monochorionic twins (or identical twins who shared placenta), suffering with TTTS. A rare but dangerous condition, it occurs in about 15% of monochorionic twins as the shared placenta can cause complications due to unbalanced blood supply to each fetus.
Doctors at Corniche Hospital successfully performed novel fetoscopic laser procedures to save both sets of unborn twins; a highly complex operation that involves entering the womb through the mother's belly, the novel fetoscopic laser procedure is only carried out at a very few specialized hospitals in the world and requires a high level of expertise.
Where severe TTTS is diagnosed, there is an almost a 100% chance that the pregnancy will be lost if treatment is not provided. However, with laser therapy, in up to 70% of cases both twins can make it through pregnancy; in up to 90% of cases, at least one baby can be saved.
Noor Alsamrai, gave birth to twins Ibrahim and Abdallah Yousef Ali Albairaq on 16 March. She was referred to the Advanced Fetal Medicine Unit at Corniche Hospital for the laser procedure after TTTS was diagnosed at week 15 of her pregnancy.
The 32-year-old said: “I was so scared and uncertain about the outcome, but meeting with Dr Leanne Bricker and the team provided me with much needed assurance given their level of expertise and knowledge. The team was in control throughout the procedure, and I am grateful to the outstanding care I received. It's been a year since I had the procedure at 18 weeks of pregnancy. Compared to my hometown in Sweden, I was impressed with the fast diagnosis, advanced treatment and smooth coordination between Corniche and the referring hospital here in the UAE. I would encourage mothers with monochorionic twins to have their pregnancy follow-up done with the right doctors to identify any issue early on.”
Maitha Almheiri, mother of twins Mohammed and Ahmed Rashid Salem Alshamsi, said: “My twins were diagnosed with TTTS at week 24 of my pregnancy. I was feeling tired, unable to breathe or eat properly; I felt inflated and had contractions. I was referred to the Advanced Fetal Medicine Unit at Corniche Hospital for the laser procedure. I didn't hesitate even for a second after speaking to Dr Leanne Bricker and her team. Post the procedure, I felt relieved as I started feeling and breathing better even while still in the operating room under local anesthesia. The support and approach of the team at Corniche Hospital provided the ultimate relief, and my babies were born on the 16 May.”
Dr. Leanne Bricker, Chair of the Fetal Medicine and Imaging Department and Consultant in Fetal and Maternal Medicine at Corniche Hospital, said: “We strongly advise women pregnant with monochorionic twins to have their ultrasound examinations and follow-up undertaken by a fetal medicine specialist who has the expertise and knowledge to identify potential problems on an ultrasound scan early in the pregnancy.”
Corniche Hospital's Advanced Fetal Medicine Unit is one of the few facilities in the region offering advanced diagnostic services for unborn children and complex fetal therapy to treat fetal abnormalities or diseases while the baby is still in the mother's uterus.
Dr. Werner Diehl, Division Chief of Fetal Medicine Center and Consultant in Fetal and Maternal Medicine, Corniche Hospital, said: “The experts at Corniche Hospital's Advanced Fetal Medicine Unit have trained and practiced in the UK and Germany. They have performed around 122 novel fetoscopic laser procedures, achieving outcomes comparable to major Fetal Medicine Units worldwide and marking a legacy of proficiency and expertise in fetal therapy in Abu Dhabi.”