Irrigated Needle Ablation Creates Larger and More Transmural Ventricular Lesions Compared With Standard Unipolar Ablation in an Ovine Model

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Ventricular tachycardia recurrence can occur after ventricular tachycardia ablation because of incomplete and nontransmural ventricular lesion formation. We sought to compare the lesions made by a novel irrigated needle catheter to conventional radiofrequency lesions.

Methods and Results—

Thirteen female sheep (4.6±0.7 years, 54±8 kg) were studied. In 7 sheep, 60-s radiofrequency applications were performed using an irrigated needle catheter. In 6 sheep, conventional lesions were made using a 4-mm irrigated catheter. 1.5T in vivo and high-density magnetic resonance imaging (9.4T) were performed on explanted hearts from animals receiving needle radiofrequency. Conventional lesion volume was calculated as (1/6)×π×(A×B2+C×D2/2). Needle lesion volume was measured as Σ(π×r2)/2 with a slice thickness of 1 mm. The dimensions of all lesions were also measured on gross pathology. Additional histological analysis of the needle lesions was performed. One hundred twenty endocardial left ventricular ablation lesions (conventional, n=60; needle, n=60) were created. At necropsy, more lesions were found using needle versus conventional radiofrequency (90% versus 75%; P<0.05). Comparing needle versus conventional radiofrequency: lesion volume was larger (1030±362 versus 488±384 mm3; P<0.001), lesion depth was increased (9.9±2.7 versus 5±2.4 mm; P<0.001), and more transmural lesions were created (62.5% versus 17%; P<0.01). Pericardial contrast injection was observed in 4 apical attempts using needle radiofrequency, however, with no adverse effects. Steam pops occurred in 3 attempts using conventional radiofrequency.


Irrigated needle ablation is associated with more frequent, larger, deeper, and more often transmural lesions compared with conventional irrigated ablation. This technology might be of value to treat intramural or epicardial ventricular tachycardia substrates resistant to conventional ablation.

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