Thermal modeling for pulsed radiofrequency ablation: analytical study based on hyperbolic heat conduction

Med Phys. 2009 Apr;36(4):1112-9. doi: 10.1118/1.3085824.


The objectives of this study were to model the temperature progress of a pulsed radiofrequency (RF) power during RF heating of biological tissue, and to employ the hyperbolic heat transfer equation (HHTE), which takes the thermal wave behavior into account, and compare the results to those obtained using the heat transfer equation based on Fourier theory (FHTE). A theoretical model was built based on an active spherical electrode completely embedded in the biological tissue, after which HHTE and FHTE were analytically solved. We found three typical waveforms for the temperature progress depending on the relations between the dimensionless duration of the RF pulse delta(a) and the expression square root of lambda(rho-1), with lambda as the dimensionless thermal relaxation time of the tissue and rho as the dimensionless position. In the case of a unique RF pulse, the temperature at any location was the result of the overlapping of two different heat sources delayed for a duration delta(a) (each heat source being produced by a RF pulse of limitless duration). The most remarkable feature in the HHTE analytical solution was the presence of temperature peaks traveling through the medium at a finite speed. These peaks not only occurred during the RF power switch-on period but also during switch off. Finally, a physical explanation for these temperature peaks is proposed based on the interaction of forward and reverse thermal waves. All-purpose analytical solutions for FHTE and HHTE were obtained during pulsed RF heating of biological tissues, which could be used for any value of pulsing frequency and duty cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catheter Ablation / instrumentation*
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Diffusion
  • Electrochemistry / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Hot Temperature
  • Models, Statistical
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Physics / methods
  • Radio Waves
  • Temperature
  • Thermal Conductivity*
  • Time Factors