A three-dimensional finite element model of radiofrequency ablation with blood flow and its experimental validation.
A novel three-dimensional finite element model for the study of radiofrequency ablation is presented. The model was used to perform an analysis of the temperature distribution in a tissue block heated by RF energy and cooled by blood (fluid) flow. This work extends earlier models by including true flow in place of a convective boundary condition to simulate realistic experimental conditions and to improve the prediction of blood temperatures. The effect of fluid flow on the temperature distribution, the lesion dimensions, and the ablation efficiency was studied. Three flow velocities were simulated: (i) 30, (ii) 55, and (iii) 85 mm/s. The modeling results were validated qualitatively and quantitatively with in vitro data. The correlation coefficients between the modeling and the experimental temperature measurements were 0.98, 0.97, and 0.95 for flows (i)-(iii), respectively. The slopes were 0.89, 0.95, and 1.06, and the mean root mean square differences between modeling and experimental temperature measurements were 17.3% +/- 11.6%, 15.8% +/- 13.4%, and 18.8% +/- 14.9% for flows (i)-(iii), respectively. A comparison of temperature distribution obtained with a convective boundary versus inclusion of fluid motion showed that the convective boundary resulted in a similar tissue temperature distribution, but overestimated fluid temperatures and lacked the flow asymmetry seen in the true flow model.
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