Colour oscillations in arterioarterial anastomoses reflect natural differences in donor and recipient oxygenation and hematocrit

H. R. de Vries, M. C. G. Aalders, D. J. Faber, J. P. H. M. van den Wijngaard, P. G. J. Nikkels, M. J. C. van Gemert

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Our aim was to show that the colour difference between brighter and darker red, occasionally observed as an oscillating boundary in the recipient and donor parts of an arterioarterial anastomosis in severe twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), is a consequence of natural differences in blood oxygenation and hematocrit developing between donor and recipient twins. As method we defined a theoretical model of the placenta with dimensions from pathology examination. From literature we determined the optical absorption and scattering properties of all tissue components, and hematocrit and oxygen saturation values for donor and recipient twins. From our placental model we simulated the spectrum of back-scattered light by standard Monte Carlo photon propagation computations and calculated the colour of chorionic arterial and venous blood vessels by applying the physics theory of colour perception. Our computations demonstrate that recipient arterial blood is somewhat brighter red than donor arterial blood. The strong colour differences seen after laser coagulation of all anastomoses but the arterioarterial were explained from an angiotensin II cut-off in the recipient due to obliteration of arteriovenous anastomoses, causing a temporary increase in recipient placental perfusion and hence in blood oxygenation. In conclusion, natural differences in recipient versus donor blood oxygen saturation and hematocrit in severe TTTS explain the observed colour differences between brighter and darker red observed in the recipient and donor parts of arterioarterial anastomoses
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1059
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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