Background: Monochorionic (MC) twins are at increased risk for perinatal mortality and serious morbidity due to the presence of placental vascular anastomoses. Cerebral injury can be secondary to haemodynamic and hematological disorders during pregnancy (especially twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) or intrauterine co-twin death) or from postnatal injury associated with prematurity and low birth weight, common complications in twin pregnancies. We investigated neurodevelopmental outcome in MC and dichorionic (DC) twins at the age of two years. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study. Cerebral palsy (CP) was studied in 182 MC infants and 189 DC infants matched for weight and age at delivery, gender, ethnicity of the mother and study center. After losses to follow-up, 282 of the 366 infants without CP were available to be tested with the Griffiths Mental Developmental Scales at 22 months corrected age, all born between January 2005 and January 2006 in nine perinatal centers in The Netherlands. Due to phenotypic (un)alikeness in mono-or dizygosity, the principal investigator was not blinded to chorionic status; perinatal outcome, with exception of co-twin death, was not known to the examiner. Findings: Four out of 182 MC infants had CP (2.2%) - two of the four CP-cases were due to complications specific to MC twin pregnancies (TTTS and co-twin death) and the other two cases of CP were the result of cystic PVL after preterm birth - compared to one sibling of a DC twin (0.5%; OR 4.2, 95% CI 0.5-38.2) of unknown origin. Follow-up rate of neurodevelopmental outcome by Griffith's test was 76%. The majority of 2-year-old twins had normal developmental status. There were no significant differences between MC and DC twins. One MC infant (0.7%) had a developmental delay compared to 6 DC infants (4.2%; OR 0.2, 95% 0.0-1.4). Birth weight discordancy did not influence long-term outcome, though the smaller twin had slightly lower developmental scores than its larger co-twin. Conclusions: There were no significant differences in occurrence of cerebral palsy as well as neurodevelopmental outcome between MC and DC twins. Outcome of MC twins seems favourable in the absence of MS or co-twin death.

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Journal PLoS ONE
Hack, K.E.A, Koopman-Esseboom, C, Derks, J.B, Elias, S.G, de Kleine, M.J.K, Baerts, W, … Visser, G.H. (2009). Long-term neurodevelopmental outcome of monochorionic and matched dichorionic twins. PLoS ONE, 4(8). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006815