Background: We postulated that the late electrophysiological effects of radiofrequency (RF) ablation may be related to microvascular injury extending beyond the region of acute coagulation necrosis. Methods and Results: Eighteen RF lesions created in the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) perfusion bed of seven open chest anesthetized dogs were studied. The ablation electrode and surrounding myocardium were imaged using high- resolution two-dimensional echocardiography at x4 magnification. After 60 seconds of RF delivery, sonicated albumin microbubbles (mean size, 4.3 μm) were injected into the LAD to measure regional myocardial perfusion, and time-intensity plots were generated from simultaneously acquired two- dimensional echocardiography images. The regions with persistent contrast effect on two-dimensional echocardiography were larger than the pathological lesions (mean cross-sectional area, 48.3±6.3 versus 19.3±4.7 mm2, respectively; P<.0001). The mean contrast transit rate in the area corresponding to the pathological lesion was 25±12% of that in the normal myocardium, but it was also reduced beyond the lesion, being 48±27% and 82±28% of normal, respectively, in the 3-mm and 3- to 6-mm circumferential rims surrounding the pathological lesion (P<.05). Electron microscopy performed in two additional dogs with similar lesions demonstrated the presence of ultrastructural damage to the microvascular endothelium well beyond the pathological lesion edge. Conclusions: RF catheter ablation not only results in a marked reduction in blood flow within the acute pathological lesion but also causes reduced flow beyond the borders of the acute lesion because of microvascular endothelial cell injury. The progression or resolution of tissue injury within the region beyond the border of the pathological lesion may explain the late electrophysiological effects of RF ablation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)