Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging for real-time observation of lesion development during radiofrequency ablation procedures
When performing radiofrequency ablation (RFA) procedures, physicians currently have little or no feedback concerning the success of the treatment until follow-up assessments are made days to weeks later. To be successful, RFA must induce a thermal lesion of sufficient volume to completely destroy a target tumor or completely isolate an aberrant cardiac pathway. Although ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and CT-based fluoroscopy have found use in guiding RFA treatments, they are deficient in giving accurate assessments of lesion size or boundaries during procedures. As induced thermal lesion size can vary considerably from patient to patient, the current lack of real-time feedback during RFA procedures is troublesome. We have developed a technique for real-time monitoring of thermal lesion size during RFA procedures utilizing acoustic radiation force impulse (ARFI) imaging. In both ex vivo and in vivo tissues, ARFI imaging provided better thermal lesion contrast and better overall appreciation for lesion size and boundaries relative to conventional sonography. The thermal safety of ARFI imaging for use at clinically realistic depths was also verified through the use of finite element method models. As ARFI imaging is implemented entirely on a diagnostic ultrasound scanner, it is a convenient, inexpensive, and promising modality for monitoring RFA procedures in vivo.
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