Photoacoustic characterization of radiofrequency ablation lesions

Richard Bouchard, Nicholas Dana, Luigi Di Biase, Andrea Natale, Stanislav Emelianov
Proc SPIE Int Soc Opt Eng2012
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) procedures are used to destroy abnormal electrical pathways in the heart that can cause cardiac arrhythmias. Current methods relying on fluoroscopy, echocardiography and electrical conduction mapping are unable to accurately assess ablation lesion size. In an effort to better visualize RFA lesions, photoacoustic (PA) and ultrasonic (US) imaging were utilized to obtain co-registered images of ablated porcine cardiac tissue. The left ventricular free wall of fresh (i.e., never frozen) porcine hearts was harvested within 24 hours of ® the animals’ sacrifice. A THERMOCOOL Ablation System (Biosense Webster, Inc.) operating at 40 W for 30-60 s was used to induce lesions through the endocardial and epicardial walls of the cardiac samples. Following lesion creation, the ablated tissue samples were placed in 25 °C saline to allow for multi-wavelength PA imaging. Samples were imaged with a Vevo® 2100 ultrasound system (VisualSonics, Inc.) using a modified 20-MHz array that could provide laser irradiation to the sample from a pulsed tunable laser (Newport Corp.) to allow for co-registered photoacoustic- ultrasound (PAUS) imaging. PA imaging was conducted from 750-1064 nm, with a surface fluence of approximately 15 mJ/cm2 maintained during imaging. In this preliminary study with PA imaging, the ablated region could be well visualized on the surface of the sample, with contrasts of 6-10 dB achieved at 750 nm. Although imaging penetration depth is a concern, PA imaging shows promise in being able to reliably visualize RF ablation lesions.
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