Objective: Cryoablation of renal tumors adjacent to the ureter or pelvicalyceal system carries risks for thermal injury of the collecting system. Although cold antegrade perfusion has been described for radiofrequency ablation, warm saline perfusion for renal cryoablation has not been well-characterized. The purpose of this study was to determine the safety and feasibility of antegrade and retrograde warm saline perfusions during percutaneous renal cryoablation.
Material and methods: A retrospective review was performed on 136 patients treated with percutaneous renal cryoablation at a single academic institution between 2009 and 2015. Six patients undergoing antegrade (n=3) or retrograde (n=3) warm saline perfusion for protection of the collecting system were identified. Warm saline was perfused through a 4 French nephrostomy tube in the antegrade technique and through a 6 French end-hole catheter in the retrograde technique. Outcome measures were tumor recurrence rates, success of urothelial preservation, hospital stay, blood loss and procedural time.
Results: Four tumors were in the lower pole and two tumors in the middle pole. The mean distance from tumor to ureter was 6.8 mm (0.8-11.5 mm) and no patient developed ureteral stricture. There was no tumor recurrence at a median follow-up of 37.3 months (7-65). The median procedural time was 3 hours and 13 minutes. One patient in each group developed minor complications (Clavien I and II) and there were no major complications.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates the feasibility of antegrade and retrograde warm saline perfusion for ureteral preservation during cryoablation, without compromising oncologic outcomes.
Keywords: Cryoablation; perfusion; renal cell carcinoma; stricture; ureter.