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J Endourol. 2008 Jun;22(6):1189-92. doi: 10.1089/end.2008.0042.

Factors associated with ureteral burn injury from an electrified guidewire.

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  • 1Section of Laparoscopy and Robotics, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.



During ureteroscopic procedures, electrocautery is often utilized in the presence of an intra-ureteral guidewire. Inadvertent electrification of the guidewire may occur if the active electrode comes into contact with the guidewire, potentially resulting in a ureteral burn injury. This study investigates under what conditions electrification of a ureteral guidewire would result in ureteral burn injury.


Porcine kidney/ureter units were tested in a saline bath using a guidewire within the ureter. The collecting system was filled with either saline or water and the guidewire was electrified with varying power and mode settings. The contact area between the wire and ureter was adjusted to 1/2 or 1/4 of the total ureteral length. The ureters were then inspected for evidence of burn injury microscopically by a pathologist in a blinded fashion.


Ten kidney/ureter units were tested. Four units were filled with saline and none of these demonstrated any burn injury. Six kidney/ureter units were filled with water prior to electrification of the wire. Small amounts of burned tissue were noted in those with the full length of the ureter exposed. Moderate to severe burning was present in those with 1/2 of the ureter exposed. Ureters exposed to 120-W cutting current had more injury than those exposed to 80-W coagulation current.


Inadvertent electrification of a ureteral guidewire does not necessarily result in ureteral burn injury. The presence and extent of ureteral injury depends primarily on the irrigating fluid used, as well as the amount of ureter exposed to the electrified guidewire.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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