Introduction: Irreversible electroporation (IRE) ablation uses a series of brief electric pulses to create nanoscale defects in cell membranes, killing the cells. It has shown promise in numerous soft-tissue tumor applications. Larger voltages between electrodes will increase ablation volume, but exceeding electrical limits may risk damage to the patient, cause ineffective therapy delivery, or require generator restart. Monitoring electrical current for these conditions in real-time enables managing these risks. This capacity is not presently available in clinical IRE generators.
Methods: We describe a system using a Tektronix TCP305 AC/DC Current Probe connected to a TCPA300 AC/DC Current Probe Amplifier, which is read on a computer using a Protek DSO-2090 USB computer-interfacing oscilloscope. Accuracy of the system was tested with a resistor circuit and by comparing measured currents with final outputs from the NanoKnife clinical electroporation pulse generator.
Results: Accuracy of measured currents was 1.64 ± 2.4 % relative to calculations for the resistor circuit and averaged 0.371 ± 0.977 % deviation from the NanoKnife. During clinical pulse delivery, the system offers real-time evaluation of IRE procedure progress and enables a number of methods for identifying approaching issues from electrical behavior of therapy delivery, facilitating protocol changes before encountering therapy delivery issues.
Conclusions: This system can monitor electrical currents in real-time without altering the electric pulses or modifying the pulse generator. This facilitates delivering electric pulse protocols that remain within the optimal range of electrical currents—sufficient strength for clinically relevant ablation volumes, without the risk of exceeding safe electric currents or causing inadequate ablation.
- Electric conductivity
- Nonthermal tumor ablation
- Percutaneous image-guided treatments