by Rebecca Fischbein, Lauren Nicholas, Julie Aultman, Kristin Baughman, Lynn Falletta
Using patient-reported experiences, this study: 1) quantitatively evaluated TTTS screening trends, 2) examined screening and diagnostic experiences using a mixed methods approach, and 3) determined gaps in clinical care experiences.
This was a cross-sectional study. Data was collected using a self-report, retrospective survey. A triangulation design was used to validate quantitative survey data with thematically analyzed qualitative data.
Participants were recruited through social media and national foundations and completed the survey online.
Participants were 312 women who completed a TTTS pregnancy in the United States, representing the largest survey of participants who have experienced TTTS.
Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses were conducted. Multivariate logistic regression examined predictors of ultrasound frequency. Qualitative data were initially coded by hand and checked using qualitative software.
The percentages of participants reporting guideline recommended screening, including identification of pregnancy type by gestational week 13 and timely receipt of ultrasounds, increased over time. However, 44.6% of participants diagnosed in recent years (2014 and later), reported that prior to TTTS diagnosis, they did not receive biweekly or more frequent ultrasounds. Three patient-reported provider practices were related to receiving ultrasounds at the recommended frequency: (1) determining MCDA status prior to gestational week 14, (2) providing participants with early warnings about the risk of TTTS to their pregnancies after MCDA status had been determined, and (3) referring participants to a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist after MCDA identification, as validated by qualitative data. Our qualitative data revealed gaps in effective clinical care experiences among OB/GYN and specialist providers.
These findings indicate screening and diagnosis for TTTS, as reported by patients, is improving in the United States; however, further efforts are required to ensure all patients receive appropriate screening, education and a team-based approach to comprehensive and supportive clinical care.
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