Qatar to launch Laser Therapy to correct complications related to twin-pregnancies

August 24, 2010

Laser Therapy to correct complications related to twin-pregnancies will be launched by Qatar’s Women’s Hospital.

The launch was announced after Qatar has seen a rise in the number of multiple pregnancies, one of the key factors leading to an increase in premature births, according to an expert.

“Multiple-pregnancies are increasing here due to uncontrolled use of drugs to stimulate ovaries for conception. Due to this, multiple embryos are formed which in turn leads to premature births and other complications. Hence, in a way we can say that multiple-pregnancy is a man-made phenomenon,” said Dr Badreldeen Ahmad, the head of Feto-Maternal Unit. “We are expecting multiple pregnancies, especially twin births to increase all the more. Among the twins, a few have been seen to develop twin-twin transfusion syndrome. This occurs when a connection between the two babies’ blood vessels in the placenta causes one baby to get a higher blood flow than the other one. Hence, one turns huge while the other is too small,” he told Qatari daily The Peninsula.

Until recently, severe cases of the syndrome often resulted in the loss of both infants.

Now Laser Therapy is used to seal off the connection between the babies’ blood vessels. Studies suggest that laser surgery can save more babies and cause fewer neurological problems (such as cerebral palsy) in survivors. A European study found a 76 percent survival rate for at least one foetus after laser surgery.

“The procedure will be started soon. We are just awaiting the arrival of the laser. Added to this, we have also started a Prenatal Research Center at the hospital to study the problems during pregnancy and delivery,” Dr Badreldeen said.

Multiple-pregnancies is one of the factors that lead to pre-term birth, which accounted for some 18 percent of all death cases at HMC last year.

Studies show that about 60 percent of twins, more than 90 percent of triplets, and virtually all quadruplets and higher-order multiples are born premature. The length of pregnancy decreases with each additional baby. On average, most singleton pregnancies last 39 weeks; twins, 35 weeks; triplets, 32 weeks; and quadruplets last for 29 weeks.

“When we are speaking of pre-mature births in Qatar, we are not saying that a 40-week pregnancy is reduced to 30 weeks. Here it comes down to 20-22 weeks of pregnancy leaving the babies in a critical condition. With multiple pregnancies, there are higher chances of miscarriage of all the babies and if delivered, the bigger issue is death or the baby being handicapped,” he said.

To reduce the number of pre-mature births, the hospital undertakes a procedure to reduce the number of foetuses. Women’s Hospital would arguably be the only centre to undertake such a procedure in the GCC, the paper said.

“Here foetus reduction is done only if the number of foetuses is four or more. This cannot be seen as killing as it is done to ensure the survival of other foetuses and to make sure that later they enjoy a better quality of life. Extra foetuses are removed in 12-13 weeks of development and not earlier as it is the best stage to make sure which foetuses are viable and good,” Dr Badreldeen said.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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