Pregnancy prognosis associated with an isolated single umbilical artery in twin pregnancy

Thomas J. Cade, Fabricio Da Silva Costa, Karen Reidy, Lex W. Doyle, Sarah E. Mitchell, Ricardo Palma-Dias, Mark P. Umstad

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To determine the prognosis of an isolated single umbilical artery (SUA) in a twin pregnancy, we selected twin pregnancies with a second trimester ultrasound diagnosing a SUA in at least one fetus at our tertiary hospital. This was confirmed by placental histopathology or by expert review of ultrasound images. Cases were identified by searching the hospital ultrasound database over a period of 7.5 years. Higher order multiples or coexistent aneuploidy or major anomalies were excluded. Each case of an isolated SUA was assigned three consecutive twin pregnancy controls paired for chorionicity and maternal age. Primary outcomes were preterm birth <34 weeks, small for gestational age (SGA) or perinatal death. Other outcomes included antenatal growth restriction, mode of delivery, and admission to neonatal intensive care or special care nursery. Nine pregnancies (18 fetuses) were identified for analysis as cases. Isolated SUA was associated with preterm birth <34 weeks (odds ratio = 12.2; 95% CI = 2.0-75.2; p =.005) but not for SGA. There was also no difference in SGA between the affected twin and its normal co-twin. Perinatal death was increased but after controlling for gestational age and clustering this finding was no longer significant. We conclude that isolated SUA in twins adds a degree of risk to an already high-risk pregnancy but does not increase the need for surveillance for growth restriction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)584-588
Number of pages5
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • diseases in twins
  • preterm birth
  • small for gestational age
  • two-vessel cord
  • umbilical arteries

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