Laboratory Investigation

CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 391-395

First online:

Irreversible Electroporation in a Swine Lung Model

  • Damian E. DupuyAffiliated withRhode Island Hospital, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University Email author 
  • , Bassam AswadAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Rhode Island Hospital, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
  • , Thomas NgAffiliated withDepartment of Surgery, Rhode Island Hospital, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

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This study was designed to evaluate the safety and tissue effects of IRE in a swine lung model.


This study was approved by the institutional animal care committee. Nine anesthetized domestic swine underwent 15 percutaneous irreversible electroporation (IRE) lesion creations (6 with bipolar and 3 with 3–4 monopolar electrodes) under fluoroscopic guidance and with pancuronium neuromuscular blockade and EKG gating. IRE electrodes were placed into the central and middle third of the right mid and lower lobes in all animals. Postprocedure PA and lateral chest radiographs were obtained to evaluate for pneumothorax. Three animals were sacrificed at 2 weeks and six at 4 weeks. Animals underwent high-resolution CT scanning and PA and lateral radiographs 1 h before sacrifice. The treated lungs were removed en bloc, perfused with formalin, and sectioned. Gross pathologic and microscopic changes after standard hematoxylin and eosin staining were analyzed within the areas of IRE lesion creation.


No significant adverse events were identified. CT showed focal areas of spiculated high density ranging in greatest diameter from 1.1–2.2 cm. On gross inspection of the sectioned lung, focal areas of tan discoloration and increased density were palpated in the areas of IRE. Histological analysis revealed focal areas of diffuse alveolar damage with fibrosis and inflammatory infiltration that respected the boundaries of the interlobular septae. No pathological difference could be discerned between the 2- and 4-week time points. The bronchioles and blood vessels within the areas of IRE were intact and did not show signs of tissue injury.


IRE creates focal areas of diffuse alveolar damage without creating damage to the bronchioles or blood vessels. Short-term safety in a swine model appears to be satisfactory.