Quadruplet pregnancy outcome with and without fetal reduction: Danish national cohort study 2008-2018 and comparison with dichorionic twins

M K Rasmussen*, S E Kristensen, C K Ekelund, P Sandager, F S Jørgensen, E Hoseth, L Sperling, H J Zingenberg, T D Hjortshøj, K Gadsbøll, A Wright, D Wright, A McLennan, K Sundberg, O B Petersen

*Corresponding author for this work


OBJECTIVES: To perform a nationwide study of quadrichorionic quadriamniotic (QCQA) quadruplet pregnancies and to compare the pregnancy outcome in those undergoing fetal reduction with non-reduced quadruplets and dichorionic diamniotic (DCDA) twin pregnancies from the same time period.

METHODS: This was a retrospective Danish national register-based study performed using data from the national Danish Fetal Medicine Database, which included all QCQA quadruplets and all non-reduced DCDA twin pregnancies with an estimated due date between 2008 and 2018. The primary outcome measure was a composite of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including pregnancy loss or intrauterine death of one or more fetuses. Secondary outcomes included gestational age at delivery, the number of liveborn children, preterm delivery before 28, 32 and 37 gestational weeks and birth weight. Data on pregnancy complications and baseline characteristics were also recorded. Outcomes were compared between reduced and non-reduced quadruplet pregnancies, and between DCDA pregnancies and quadruplet pregnancies reduced to twins. A systematic literature search was performed to describe and compare previous results with our findings.

RESULTS: Included in the study were 33 QCQA quadruplet pregnancies, including three (9.1%) non-reduced pregnancies, 28 (84.8%) that were reduced to twin pregnancy and fewer than three (6.1%) that were reduced to singleton pregnancy, as well as 9563 DCDA twin pregnancies. Overall, the rate of adverse pregnancy outcome was highest in non-reduced quadruplets (66.7%); it was 50% in quadruplets reduced to singletons and 10.7% in quadruplets reduced to twins. The proportion of liveborn infants overall was 91.1% of the total number expected to be liveborn in quadruplet pregnancies reduced to twins. This was statistically significantly different from 97.6% in non-reduced dichorionic twins (P = 0.004), and considerably higher than 58.3% in non-reduced quadruplets. The rates of preterm delivery < 28, < 32 and < 37 weeks were decreased in quadruplets reduced to twins compared with those in non-reduced quadruplet pregnancies. Quadruplets reduced to twins did not achieve equivalent pregnancy outcomes to those of DCDA twins.

CONCLUSION: This national study of QCQA quadruplets has shown that multifetal pregnancy reduction improves pregnancy outcome, including a decreased rate of preterm delivery and higher proportion of liveborn children. © 2023 The Authors. Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUltrasound in obstetrics & gynecology : the official journal of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)514-521
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome/epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Reduction, Multifetal/methods
  • Pregnancy, Quadruplet
  • Pregnancy, Twin
  • Premature Birth/epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Twins, Dizygotic


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