Comparison of laparoscopic saline infused to dry radio frequency ablation of renal tissue: Evolution of histological infarct in the porcine model

Beng Jit Tan, Assaad El-Hakim, Nora Morgenstern, Yavor Semerdzhiev, Arthur Smith, Benjamin R. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: We investigated and compared the gross and histopathological features of radio frequency (RF) ablated renal tissue using saline infused RF ablation (RFA) vs dry RFA in a porcine model. Materials and Methods: Ten porcine kidneys underwent laparoscopic RFA. The lower and upper poles of each right kidney were treated with 1 and 2 cycles of saline augmented (wet) RFA, respectively. The upper pole of each left kidney was RF ablated without saline infusion (dry RFA) and a control lesion was created in the lower pole. The animals were sacrificed immediately after ′, 2 and 9 days after (subacute), and 14 and 21 days after (chronic) treatment, respectively. Gross pathological and histological changes caused by the different RF treatments were compared. Results: Mean time to attain target temperature was shorter with wet than with dry RFA. Grossly the lesion sizes achieved were larger using wet RFA but independent of the number of wet RFA treatment cycles. Gross lesion sizes decreased with time for each treatment modality. No histopathological differences were seen between the 2 RFA treatment modalities as well as between 1 vs 2 cycles of wet RFA. In the acute phase hematoxylin and eosin staining of ablated tissue revealed focal areas of alterations in renal tubular histology. However, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide staining of corresponding areas confirmed the lack of cellular viability except for glomeruli. In the subacute phase there were focal coagulation necrosis and thrombosed blood vessels. Within the necrotic areas the glomeruli were the last structures to lose viability. In the chronic phase fibrosis with decreased lesion size was seen. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide staining demonstrated that the cellular kill was permanent during the entire study period. Conclusions: The effects of RFA of renal tissue has 2 phases, namely initial direct thermal ablation causing acute cell death and a later subacute phase causing subsequent infarction of the distal arterial vascular supply to the ablated region, resulting in more cell death and coagulative necrosis. Glomeruli are the last structures to lose viability in necrotic areas. Most importantly cellular death caused by RFA is permanent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2007-2012
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number5 I
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Catheter ablation
  • Cell survival
  • Kidney
  • Laparoscopy
  • Swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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