Author(s): Fionnuala M Breathnach
Twin growth is frequently mismatched. This review serves to explore the pathophysiologic mechanisms that underlie growth aberrations in twin gestations, the prenatal recognition of abnormal twin growth, and the critical importance of stratifying management of abnormal twin growth by chorionicity. Although poor in utero growth of both twins may reflect maternal factors resulting in global uteroplacental dysfunction, discordant twin growth may be attributed to differences in genetic potential between co-twins, placental dysfunction confined to one placenta only, or one placental territory within a shared placenta. In addition, twin-twin transfusion syndrome represents a distinct entity of which discordant growth is a common feature. Discordant growth is recognized as an independent risk factor for adverse perinatal outcome. Intertwin birth weight disparity of 18% or more should be considered to represent a discordance threshold, which serves as an independent risk factor for adverse perinatal outcome. At this cutoff, perinatal morbidity is found to increase both for the larger and the smaller twin within a discordant pair. There remains uncertainty surrounding the sonographic parameters that are most predictive of discordance. Although heightening of fetal surveillance in the face of discordant twin growth follows the principles applied to singleton gestations complicated by fetal growth restriction, the timing of intervention is largely influenced by chorionicity.