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Date:12/9/2009

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A Southern California fetal surgery institute, one of only a handful in the United States, has posted enormously successful rates in treating a dangerous disorder that affects 10 percent of unborn identical twins.

One of the largest studies conducted in the United States for the treatment of Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) with laser surgery has found that the USC Fetal Therapy Program at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center has achieved a 91 percent survival rate for at least one fetus and a 72 percent survival rate for both fetuses.

Conducted from March 2006 through March 2008, the groundbreaking study examined 99 consecutive patients who underwent laser surgery for the treatment of TTTS. The majority of the placentas subsequently underwent pathological review to analyze the technical success of the surgery.

"Using a modification of the standard laser technique, we found significantly improved survival in the especially vulnerable donor fetus," said Dr. Ramen Chmait, who led the study and conducted all 99 surgeries. He is among a handful of physicians who perform fetal laser surgery.

TTTS occurs only in monochorionic pregnancies (identical twins who share a placenta). It results in unequal sharing of blood and disproportionate distribution of blood volume between the twins. One twin receives excess blood volume, while the donor twin becomes blood-volume depleted. If untreated early in pregnancy, there is a 90 percent chance that both twins will die.

TTTS is usually diagnosed with a routine ultrasound during the second trimester--at a time when most expectant parents are beginning to adjust to the news of having twins.

Life-Saving Surgery

"My first prenatal appointment revealed eight-week-old twins; my second, identical twins; and my third appointment revealed two little girls. It seemed like one shock after the next, with ble
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SOURCE Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center
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