Mirror Syndrome

Just What Is Mirror Syndrome?

Mirror syndrome is a serious disorder affecting pregnant women which fortunately is also very rare. Mirror syndrome has nothing to do with an attraction to mirrors, a fear of mirrors, or anything to do with mirrors. Its name is based on the fact that a certain condition mirrors another condition, and the syndrome is also known as Ballantyne syndrome, after the person who first described its characteristics, and Maternal Hydrops, a description indicating maternal water retention.

Not only is mirror syndrome a serious condition for the pregnant woman, it is a potentially lethal condition for the fetus. Often, when the situation is considered to require emergency treatment, an attempt is made through cesarean section, a normally safe procedure, to save the life of the fetus, and at times the life of the mother as well, but in the case of mirror syndrome cesarean section can be an excessively risky procedure.

What actually happens is that fluid accumulates in one or more cavities, beneath the skin of the woman, or in one or both of two fetal cavities, a condition known as fetal hydrops. The significance of the term mirror syndrome is that the condition of the fetus can mirror or reflect the condition of the mother as far as fluid retention is concerned, and vice versa.

Symptoms Experienced - The fetus may become quite ill, a condition which is not always diagnosed early on, and the mother may become ill as well, in which case the cause of the illness can usually be easily determined, at which time the condition of the fetus will then be checked. Symptoms of the syndrome include hypertension and high blood pressure, excessive water reflection, and excessive protein in the urine. The woman may also experience a collection of fluid in the lungs as well as vomiting. In extreme situations, blockage of the bladder, and even a burst bladder could occur,

No Set Treatment - What exactly causes fluid retention in the fetal tissues isn't perfectly understood, which can make treatment difficult at times. As a first resort, once mirror syndrome has been diagnosed, the patient will be placed under a bed rest regimen, intended to reduce symptoms of hypertension and also reduce fluid retention. Beyond that, it is usually a matter of whatever the doctor feels is the best approach, as each case of mirror syndrome can be somewhat unique.

Fetal surgery is rarely performed, and usually is performed as a last resort since the risk of death of the fetus is high. If at all possible, physicians will hope for a normal delivery in which case the problem is usually resolved. Sometimes however, waiting for a normal delivery is not an option.

A (Somewhat) Silver Lining - About the only good thing that can be said about mirror syndrome is that it is very rare. So rare, that few have even heard of it. The other good thing, if one can call it that, is that treatment, to the extent a definite course of treatment can be determined, tends to be successful more often than unsuccessful. The mortality rate of the fetus may be rather high on a percentage basis, but given the rarity of the syndrome, the actual number of fetuses, or mothers, who succumb to the disorder is really very small.

Mirror Syndrome, Not Mirror, Mirror Syndrome – The mirror syndrome is not to be confused with the mirror, mirror syndrome, a condition in which individuals have an exaggerated view of their own talents or capabilities. In other words, these individuals have been led, or led themselves, into believing they are “the fairest of them all”, the subject of another article.