EMF Health-effects Research

Catheter microwave ablation therapy for cardiac arrhythmias

Lin JC

Bioelectromagnetics. (Suppl 4):120-132, 1999

This article describes three microwave catheter antennas for percutaneous cardiac ablation. A particular design feature of these antennas is that there is no reflected microwave current from the antenna flowing up the transmission line. Thus, it minimizes heating of the coaxial cable.

The power reflection coefficients are very low (4% or less) in phantom equivalent materials. These antennas can also serve as bipolar electrodes for sensing endocardiac electrograms.

Our studies in dogs, during both cardiopulmonary bypass and closed-chest operations via the femoral vein, have shown microwave energy greater than 200 joules (J) delivered to the heart through a split-tip dipole catheter antenna can produce irreversible block of the heart rhythms. This energy was achieved either by increasing the delivered power from 20 to 40 watts or by increasing the treatment duration from 7 to 11 s (210 to 330 J per application). It produced an endocardium temperature of about 65 degrees C.

We found that the percutaneous, transcatheter microwave system is capable of inducing AV blocks consistently in dogs using the flexible, curved tip, split-tip catheter antenna. In addition, our studies have shown that the width and height of SAR distributions for cap-choke and split-tip catheter antennas are similar for the same antenna length. The cap-slot design had a much longer SAR distribution compared to the others. Moreover, a longer (4 mm) split-tip antenna can also induce larger lesions.

These results suggest that it could be possible to ablate a ventricular tachycardia focus using the 4 mm split-tip as well as the cap-slot microwave catheter antennas.

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