Role of saline concentration during saline-infused radiofrequency ablation: Observation of secondary Joule heating along the saline-tissue interface

Antony SK Kho, Ean H. Ooi, Ji J. Foo, Ean T. Ooi

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    Infusion of saline prior to radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is known to enlarge the thermal coagulation zone. The abundance of ions in saline elevate the electrical conductivity of the saline-saturated region. This promotes greater electric current flow inside the tissue, which increases the amount of RF energy deposition and subsequently enlarges the coagulation zone. In theory, infusion of higher concentration of saline should lead to larger coagulation zone due to the greater number of ions. Nevertheless, existing studies on the effects of concentration on saline-infused RFA have been conflicting, with the exact role of saline concentration yet to be fully elucidated. In this paper, computational models of saline-infused RFA were developed to investigate the role of saline concentration on the outcome of saline-infused RFA. The elevation in tissue electrical conductivity was modelled using the microscopic mixture model, while RFA was modelled using the coupled dual porosity-Joule heating model. Results obtained indicated that the presence of a concentration threshold to which no further elevation in tissue electrical conductivity and enlargement in thermal coagulation can occur. This threshold was determined to be at 15% NaCl. Analysis of the Joule heating distribution revealed the presence of a secondary Joule heating site located along the interface between wet and dry tissue. This secondary Joule heating was responsible for the enlargement in coagulation volume and its rapid growth phase during ablation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number104112
    Number of pages15
    JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


    • Joule heating
    • Microscopic mixture model
    • NaCl
    • RFA
    • Saline infusion

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