Introduction: Radio-frequency catheter ablation (RFCA) using Joule heat has two fundamental weaknesses: the limited depth of treatment and the risk of thrombus formation. In contrast, focused shock wave (SW) therapy could damage tissues at arbitrary depths without heat generation. Thus, we aimed to develop a SWcatheter ablation (SWCA) system that could compensate for the weaknesses of RFCA therapy. Methods and Results: We developed a SWCA system where the SW generated by a Q-switched Holmium: yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) laser beam was reflected by a reflector attached to 14-Fr catheter tip and then was converged onto the focus. We examined the feasibility of our system on pigs in vivo. When applied using the epicardial approach, the SWCA caused persistent spheroidal lesions with mild superficial injury than the RFCA. The lesions were created to a depth based on the focal length (2.0 mm) [2.36 ± 0.45 (SD) mm immediately after procedure, n = 16]. When applied to the atrioventricular (AV) node using the endocardial approach, the SWCA caused junctional escape rhythms in 2 pigs and AV block in 12 pigs (complete AV block in 9) in acute phase (n = 14). Nine of the 14 pigs survived with pacemakers for the long-term study, and the AV block persisted for 12.6 ± 3.9 (SD) days in all surviving pigs. Histological examination showed AV nodal cell body atrophy in the acute phase and fibrotic lesions in the chronic phase. Importantly, no acute or chronic fatal complications were noted. Conclusions: Our novel SWCA system could be a promising modality as a non-thermal ablation method to compensate for the weaknesses of RFCA therapy. However, further research and development will be necessary as the current prototype still exhibited the presence of micro-thrombus formation in the animal studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)