Radiofrequency ablation of the pancreas with and without intraluminal duodenal cooling in a porcine model



      To determine the short-term outcome of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of pancreatic tissue near the duodenum and portomesenteric vessels (PMV) in a porcine model with and without intraluminal duodenal cooling.


      RFA has been proposed as a new treatment strategy in patients with unresectable locally advanced pancreatic cancer. RFA may cause thermal damage to the duodenum and vascular structures, but these risks and potential protective measures have never been systematically addressed. Intraluminal duodenal cooling during RFA could prevent thermal damage to the duodenum.


      RFA was performed in 11 pigs during laparotomy with a bipolar probe of 30 mm active length at a power of 30 W until a total energy of 15 kJ was administered. The RFA probe was inserted in the pancreas at 5 or 15 mm from the duodenum, PMV, and in the pancreatic tail. RFA near the duodenum was performed with and without intraluminal duodenal cooling using 100 mL/min saline of 5°C. Histopathologic assessment was performed.


      The maximum RFA-induced temperature was 92°C. RFA with one single probe induced adequate ablation lesions with a diameter of 20 mm over a length of 30 mm. Without duodenal cooling, RFA induced duodenal thermal damage, whereas with duodenal cooling, no damage was observed. RFA at 15 mm from the PMV resulted in minimal superficial focal vascular damage, without thrombosis or hemorrhage.


      RFA provides adequate ablation zones in the pancreas of the porcine. Thermal damage to the duodenum can be prevented by intraluminal duodenal cooling without loss of ablation effectivity.


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