Wide variations in energy delivery using an impedance-controlled algorithm in bipolar radiofrequency ablation: evidence against fixed time ablation.
ABSTRACT : Bipolar radiofrequency ablation recently has been used to replace many of the incisions of the Cox-Maze procedure in the surgical treatment of atrial fibrillation. The unique aspect of this technology is that it uses an algorithm based on changes in tissue conductance to determine the energy required to achieve a transmural lesion instead of relying on predetermined time and/or temperature criteria to determine ablation duration, as with most other ablation technologies. The purpose of this study was to determine variations in the different parameters of ablation needed to create transmural lesions in human atria.
: Initial impedance, total energy, temperature, and ablation time were measured in 38 patients undergoing surgery, using an impedance-controlled bipolar radiofrequency device (AtriCure Isolator, Cincinnati, OH). Lesions were categorized into the following groups: right atrial free wall, left atrial free wall, atrium up to mitral valve annulus, atrium up to tricuspid valve annulus, and right or left pulmonary veins.
: There was a wide range of initial impedance (32.3 to 760.7 Ohms), and this correlated with total energy delivered (r = -0.31, P = 0.002). Ablation times varied widely (2.0 to 29.9 seconds) and were longer on left atrial structures than right (P < 0.005) and shortest near the tricuspid annulus (P < 0.001). Mean tissue temperature 1 mm from the electrode was only 45.7 ± 7.8°C (range, 23.7°C to 69.3°C).
: Bipolar ablation of different atrial structures required widely different amounts of energy and ablation times, probably as the result of the inhomogeneity of atrial geometry and tissue impedance. These data cast doubt on the efficacy of any fixed-time or temperature ablations in the clinical setting.
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ABSTRACT: For the last decade, the Cox maze III procedure has been available for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. It is unknown whether the operation has similar efficacy in patients with lone atrial fibrillation compared with that in patients with atrial fibrillation associated with coronary, valve, or congenital heart disease. This study examined the long-term outcome of patients who underwent this procedure either as a lone operation or as a concomitant procedure. From 1988 to 2001, 198 patients underwent a Cox maze III procedure; 112 were lone operations, and 86 were concomitant procedures. Major complications included renal failure, reoperation for bleeding, mediastinitis, stroke, and balloon pump insertion. Follow-up was performed by means of mail and telephone questionnaires with both the patients and their cardiologists. All patients who had any history of arrhythmia or who were taking medication had their rhythm documented by means of electrocardiography. The lone operation group was significantly younger (51.3 +/- 10.5 vs 58.8 +/- 9.9 years) and had a higher male/female ratio (4:1 vs 2:1). There was no difference in operative mortality between groups (1.8% vs 1.2%). At a follow-up of 5.4 +/- 2.9 years, 96.6% (172/178) of all patients were free of atrial fibrillation. There was no difference between the lone operation and concomitant procedure groups (95.9% vs 97.5%). The Cox maze III procedure has equivalent operative risk and long-term efficacy in patients undergoing both lone operations and concomitant procedures. The Cox maze III procedure remains the standard against which alternative procedures for atrial fibrillation must be judged.Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 01/2004; 126(6):1822-8. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recently, there has been renewed interest in the development of minimally invasive procedures to treat atrial fibrillation. Unipolar radiofrequency catheters are plagued by poor results, in part because of their inability to produce transmural lesions. This study tested the ability of bipolar radiofrequency energy to create chronic transmural lesions on the beating heart that isolated atrial myocardium. Five sheep underwent a right thoracotomy. Baseline pacing was performed from the following targeted areas: right atrial appendage, superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, and right pulmonary veins. A cuff of atrial myocardium around the targeted tissue was clamped between the 2 arms of the device. Radiofrequency energy was delivered at 750 mA and continued until the tissue conductance between the electrodes reached a stable minimum level. After ablation, pacing was used to document tissue isolation. The animals survived for 30 days. Twenty circumferential lesions were produced at the initial operation. The mean ablation time was 9.3 +/- 4.0 seconds, and the mean peak temperature was 48.4 degrees C +/- 6.4 degrees C. All lesions acutely and chronically isolated the targeted tissue. Trichrome staining showed that all lesions were transmural. There were no instances of pulmonary vein stenosis or thrombosis. Bipolar radiofrequency energy can produce permanent transmural linear lesions on the beating heart. Online measurement of tissue conductance reliably predicted lesion transmurality. This new technology may enable surgeons to perform a curative minimally invasive operation for atrial fibrillation on the beating heart.Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 11/2002; 124(4):708-13. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Radiofrequency (RF) catheter ablation has become the treatment of choice for many symptomatic cardiac arrhythmias. It is presumed that the primary cause of tissue injury by RF ablation is thermally mediated, resulting in a relatively discrete homogeneous lesion. The mechanism by which RF current heats tissue is resistive heating of a narrow rim (< 1 mm) of tissue that is in direct contact with the ablation electrode. Deeper tissue heating occurs as a result of passive heat conduction from this small region of volume heating. Lesion size is proportional to the temperature at the electrode-tissue interface and the size of the ablation electrode. Temperatures above 50 degrees C are required for irreversible myocardial injury, but temperatures above 100 degrees C result in coagulum formation on the ablation electrode, a rapid rise in electrical impedance, and loss of effective tissue heating. Lesion formation is also dependent on optimal electrode-tissue contact and duration of RF delivery. Newer developments in RF ablation include temperature monitoring, longer ablation electrodes coupled to high-powered RF generators, and novel ablation electrode designs.Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology 11/1994; 5(10):863-76. · 3.48 Impact Factor