Black-box modeling to estimate tissue temperature during radiofrequency catheter cardiac ablation: Feasibility study on an agar phantom model

Physiol Meas. 2010 Apr;31(4):581-94. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/31/4/009. Epub 2010 Mar 19.


The aim of this work was to study linear deterministic models to predict tissue temperature during radiofrequency cardiac ablation (RFCA) by measuring magnitudes such as electrode temperature, power and impedance between active and dispersive electrodes. The concept involves autoregressive models with exogenous input (ARX), which is a particular case of the autoregressive moving average model with exogenous input (ARMAX). The values of the mode parameters were determined from a least-squares fit of experimental data. The data were obtained from radiofrequency ablations conducted on agar models with different contact pressure conditions between electrode and agar (0 and 20 g) and different flow rates around the electrode (1, 1.5 and 2 L min(-1)). Half of all the ablations were chosen randomly to be used for identification (i.e. determination of model parameters) and the other half were used for model validation. The results suggest that (1) a linear model can be developed to predict tissue temperature at a depth of 4.5 mm during RF cardiac ablation by using the variables applied power, impedance and electrode temperature; (2) the best model provides a reasonably accurate estimate of tissue temperature with a 60% probability of achieving average errors better than 5 degrees C; (3) substantial errors (larger than 15 degrees C) were found only in 6.6% of cases and were associated with abnormal experiments (e.g. those involving the displacement of the ablation electrode) and (4) the impact of measuring impedance on the overall estimate is negligible (around 1 degrees C).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agar / chemistry*
  • Algorithms*
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Thermography / methods*


  • Agar