A clinically oriented computer model for radiofrequency ablation of hepatic tissue with internally cooled wet electrode

Int J Hyperthermia. 2019 Jan 1;35(1):194-204. doi: 10.1080/02656736.2018.1489071. Epub 2018 Oct 8.


Purpose: To improve the computer modelling of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) by internally cooled wet (ICW) electrodes with added clinically oriented features.

Methods: An improved RFA computer model by ICW electrode included: (1) a realistic spatial distribution of the infused saline, and (2) different domains to distinguish between healthy tissue, saline-infused tumour, and non-infused tumour, under the assumption that infused saline is retained within the tumour boundary. A realistic saline spatial distribution was obtained from an in vivo pig liver study. The computer results were analysed in terms of impedance evolution and coagulation zone (CZ) size, and were compared to the results of clinical trials conducted on 17 patients with the same ICW electrode.

Results: The new features added to the model provided computer results that matched well with the clinical results. No roll-offs occurred during the 4-min ablation. CZ transversal diameter (4.10 ± 0.19 cm) was similar to the computed diameter (4.16 cm). Including the tumour and saline infusion in the model involved (1) a reduction of the initial impedance by 10 - 20 Ω, (2) a delay in roll-off of 20 s and 70 - 100 s, respectively, and (3) 18 - 31% and 22 - 36% larger CZ size, respectively. The saline spatial distribution geometry was also seen to affect roll-off delay and CZ size.

Conclusions: Using a three-compartment model and a realistic saline spatial distribution notably improves the match with the outcome of the clinical trials.

Keywords: Internally cooled wet electrode; computer model; radiofrequency ablation; rehydration; saline distribution.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cold Temperature
  • Electrodes
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / surgery*
  • Radiofrequency Ablation / methods*