OBEJCTIVE: This study sought to examine the biophysical properties of high-power and short-duration (HP-SD) radiofrequency ablation for pulmonary vein isolation.
BACKGROUND: Pulmonary vein isolation is the cornerstone of atrial fibrillation ablation. However, pulmonary vein reconnection is frequent and is often the result of catheter instability, tissue edema, and a reversible nontransmural injury. We postulated that HP-SD ablation increases lesion-to-lesion uniformity and transmurality.
METHODS: This study included 20 swine and a novel open-irrigated ablation catheter with a thermocouple system able to record temperature at the catheter-tissue interface (QDOT Micro Catheter). Step 1 compared 3 HP-SD ablation settings: 90 W/4 s, 90 W/6 s, and 70 W/8 s in a thigh muscle preparation. Ablation at 90 W/4 s was identified as the best compromise between lesion size and safety parameters, with no steam-pop or char. In step 2, a total of 174 single ablation applications were performed in the beating heart and resulted in 3 (1.7%) steam-pops, all occurring at catheter-tissue interface temperature ≥85°C. Additional 233 applications at 90 W/4 s and temperature limit of 65°C were applied without steam-pop. Step 3 compared the presence of gaps and lesion transmurality in atrial lines and pulmonary vein isolation between HP-SD (90 W/4 s, T ≤65°C) and standard (25 W/20 s) ablation.
RESULTS: HP-SD ablation resulted in 100% contiguous lines with all transmural lesions, whereas standard ablation had linear gaps in 25% and partial thickness lesions in 29%. Ablation with HP-SD produced wider lesions (6.02 ± 0.2 mm vs. 4.43 ± 1.0 mm; p = 0.003) at similar depth (3.58 ± 0.3 mm vs. 3.53 ± 0.6 mm; p = 0.81) and improved lesion-to-lesion uniformity with comparable safety end points.
CONCLUSION: In a preclinical model, HP-SD ablation (90 W/4 s, T ≤65°C) produced an improved lesion-to-lesion uniformity, linear contiguity, and transmurality at a similar safety profile of conventional ablation.