Microwave Ablation of the Lung in a Porcine Model: Vessel Diameter Predicts Pulmonary Artery Occlusion

Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol. 2017 Oct;40(10):1609-1616. doi: 10.1007/s00270-017-1689-y. Epub 2017 May 11.


Purpose: To determine the size of pulmonary artery (PA) at risk for occlusion during percutaneous microwave ablation and to assess the effect of vessel diameter, number, and patency, on ablation zone volume.

Materials and methods: Computed tomography (CT) fluoroscopy-guided percutaneous microwave ablations were performed in 8 pigs under general anesthesia. All ablations were performed at 65 W for 5 min with a single 17-gauge antenna positioned in the central third of the lungs. A CT pulmonary angiogram was performed immediately after the ablations. The maximum diameter, number and patency of PA branches within each ablation zone were recorded. Ablation volumes were measured at gross dissection and with CT. Student's t test was used to compare ablation zone volumes among groups.

Results: Twenty-one pulmonary ablations were performed. Six of the ablation zones (29%) contained at least 1 occluded PA branch. The mean diameter of the occluded PA branches in the ablation zones (2.4 mm; range, 2.0-2.8 mm) was significantly smaller than non-occluded PA branches (3.7 mm; range: 2.1-6.9 mm; p = 0.009). No PA branches ≥3 mm in size were occluded. There was no significant difference in volume of gross ablation zones that contained occluded versus non-occluded PAs (p = 0.42), one versus multiple PAs (p = 0.71), or PAs <3 mm versus ≥3 mm in diameter (p = 0.44).

Conclusions: PAs ≥3 mm in size have a low risk for iatrogenic occlusion during percutaneous microwave ablation. The presence of multiple adjacent PA branches, an occluded PA branch, and a vessel diameter ≥3 mm within the ablation zone had no observed effect on ablation zone volume.

Keywords: Lung neoplasm; Microwave ablation; Percutaneous ablation; Pulmonary artery.

MeSH terms

  • Ablation Techniques / methods*
  • Animals
  • Body Weights and Measures / methods
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy / methods
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / surgery*
  • Microwaves
  • Pulmonary Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiopathology
  • Radiography, Interventional / methods
  • Swine
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods