Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of a hybrid ablative technique based on applying electroporation (EP) pulses just before conducting radiofrequency ablation (RFA). The rationale was that the EP-induced reduction in blood perfusion could be sufficient to reduce the thermal sink effect and hence to increase the coagulation volume in comparison to that created exclusively by RFA.
Materials and methods: A modelling study and in vivo experimental study were used. A Cool-tip RF applicator was used both for EP and RFA.
Results: Overall, the results did not show any synergy effect from using the hybrid technique. Applying EP pulses prior to RFA did not increase the coagulation zone obtained and the lesions were almost identical. Additional computer simulations provided an explanation for this; the effect of reducing blood perfusion by thermal damage during RFA completely masks the effect of reducing blood perfusion by EP. This is because both thermal damage and EP affect the same zone, i.e. the tissue around the electrode.
Conclusions: Our computer modelling and in vivo experimental findings suggest that the combination of EP and RFA with monopolar applicators does not provide an additional benefit over the use of RFA alone.