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Innovations (Phila). 2010 Mar;5(2):e138-46. doi: 10.1097/IMI.0b013e3181d76900.

Technological advances in minimally invasive radiofrequency ablation of cardiac tissues.

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  • 1From the *Department of Radiology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH USA; and ‚ĆDepartments of Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering, AtriCure, Inc., West Chester, OH USA.


Ablative techniques have been sought in many circumstances as alternatives to surgical resection/incision. Besides being minimally invasive, potential benefits of ablation include greater speed and improved access to target tissue compared with other surgical techniques. There is a wide variety of ablation technologies currently in use for medical treatment. These include but are not limited to tissue heating by radiofrequency (RF) current, microwaves, laser, and high intensity ultrasound. RF is among the most heavily used because of its relatively low complexity and cost. Ablative techniques have proven to be viable alternatives to surgical resection/incision of tissue. Although there are other means of tissue heating besides RF, RF is the most commonly used technique in operating rooms because of the reliability of transmural lesions and the low complexity of the system. Optimal systems account for the heterogeneous nature of tissue and variations in tissue property through the ablation cycle. It is important to monitor and assure adequate energy delivery by selecting the appropriate configuration of devices. Energy delivery varies between the various generators and systems, some more responsive than others with relative to changes in tissue impedance that will affect the end results of the operation.

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