Simultaneous use of endoscopic resection and radiofrequency ablation is not safe in an esophageal porcine model

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Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is safe and effective for eradication of Barrett's esophagus after endoscopic resection (ER) of neoplasia. Widespread ER, however, is likely to induce stenosis, hampering subsequent circumferential RFA. A ‘single step’ procedure with ER and circumferential RFA in the same session may avoid this problem. Two variants are possible: circumferential RFA of Barrett's esophagus including the lesion followed by ER of the ablated lesion (‘RFA→ER’), or ER of the lesion directly followed by circumferential RFA of remaining Barrett's esophagus including the resection wound (‘ER→RFA’). First aim was to evaluate perforation risk of ‘ER→RFA’ using increasing RFA energies. Second aim was to compare stenosis rate after ‘ER→RFA’ versus ‘RFA→ER’. In Experiment 1, 24 areas in six pigs underwent widespread ER directly followed by circumferential RFA with increasing energies (2 x 10, 2 x 12-6 x 12 J/cm2) in the esophagus. In Experiment 2, eight pigs each had four treatment areas randomized: ‘ER→RFA’, RFA alone, ER alone, and ‘RFA→ER’. No acute perforations occurred when ablating ER wounds. Two delayed perforations occurred: one in experiment 1, another in experiment n2 at the ‘ER→RFA’ area. The remaining seven pigs in experiment 2 showed stenosis in all ‘ER→RFA’ and ‘RFA→ER’ areas versus 5/7 RFA alone areas, and 0/7 ER alone areas. In conclusion, the ‘single step’ variant ‘ER→RFA’ is not safe in this porcine model and seems therefore not ethical to evaluate in humans at this stage. Given the high rate of stenosis after ‘RFA→ER’ and RFA alone, one might question the validity of the porcine model for this type of experiments.

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