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Radiofrequency Thermal Ablation Heat Energy Transfer in an Ex-Vivo Model

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Little work has been done to consider the temperature changes and energy transfer that occur in the tissue outside the vein with ultrasound-guided vein ablation therapy. In this experiment, a Ex-Vivo model of the human calf was used to analyze heat transfer and energy degradation in tissue surrounding the vein during endovascular radiofrequency ablation (RFA). A clinical vein ablation protocol was used to determine the tissue temperature distribution in 10 per cent agar gel. Heat energy from the radiofrequency catheter was measured for 140 seconds at fixed points by four thermometer probes placed equidistant radially at 0.0025, 0.005, and 0.01 m away from the RFA catheter. The temperature rose 1.5°C at 0.0025 m, 0.6°C at 0.005 m, and 0.0°C at 0.01 m from the RFA catheter. There was a clinically insignificant heat transfer at the distances evaluated, 1.4 ± 0.2 J/s at 0.0025 m, 0.7 ± 0.3 J/s at 0.0050 m, and 0.3 ± 0.0 J/s at 0.01 m. Heat degradation occurred rapidly: 4.5 ± 0.5 J (at 0.0025 m), 4.0 ± 1.6 J (at 0.0050 m), and 3.9 ± 3.6 J (at 0.01 m). Tumescent anesthesia injected one centimeter around the vein would act as a heat sink to absorb the energy transferred outside the vein to minimize tissue and nerve damage and will help phlebologists strategize options for minimizing damage.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2017

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