Cerebral morbidity in preterm twins

W. Rettwitz-Volk, T. M. Tran, A. Veldman

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Background: Whether twins are more prone to increased neonatal morbidity than singletons remains controversial. It was the aim of this study to define the special risks of preterm twins with an emphasis on cerebral morbidity. Methods: A retrospective chart review was carried out of all consecutively born twins (n = 230) and the corresponding sets of singletons of a single level-III neonatal intensive care unit. The subjects had a gestational age between 24 and 37 weeks, and were born in 1990-98. Results: Twin pregnancies were more often complicated by preterm contractions (odds ratio (OR) 4.03 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.39, 6.78)) whereas gestosis was significantly less (OR 0.14 (95% CI 0.05, 0.41)). Grades III and IV intracranial bleeding occurred significantly more often in twins compared to singletons (OR 3.75 (95% CI 1.65, 8.97)), with infants of less than 32 weeks' gestational age being predominantly affected (OR 3.31 (95% CI 1.33, 8.29)). Infants of less than 32 weeks' gestational age developed respiratory distress syndrome more often than the corresponding singletons (OR 1.93 (95% CI 1.15, 3.25)). There were no differences in all observed items between the first- and second-born twins. Conclusion: Twins of less than 37 weeks' gestational age were significantly more often affected by high-grade intraventricular hemorrhage irrespective of birth order. Periventricular leukomalacia occurred twice as often as in singletons. There were no differences with respect to mortality and further morbidity except for respiratory distress syndrome in preterm twins of less than 32 weeks' gestational age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-223
Number of pages6
JournalThe Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Twins

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