CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 176–182

Pain Analysis in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Irreversible Electroporation versus Radiofrequency Ablation—Initial Observations

  • Govindarajan Narayanan
  • Tatiana Froud
  • Kaming Lo
  • Katuska J. Barbery
  • Evelyn Perez-Rojas
  • Jose Yrizarry
Clinical Investigation



To retrospectively compare the postprocedure pain of hepatocellular carcinoma treated with irreversible electroporation (IRE) with radiofrequency ablation (RFA).


This Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act–compliant, institutional review board–approved study compared postprocedure pain in 21 patients (15 men, six women; mean age 61.5 years) who underwent IRE of 29 intrahepatic lesions (mean size 2.20 cm) in 28 IRE sessions with 22 patients (16 men, six women; mean age 60.2 years) who underwent RFA of 27 lesions (mean size 3.38 cm) in 25 RFA sessions. Pain was determined by patient-disclosed scores with an 11-point numerical rating scale and 24 h cumulative hydromorphone use from patient-controlled analgesia pump. Complications were noted. Statistical significance was evaluated by Fisher’s exact test, the Chi-square test, and Student’s t test.


There was no significant difference in the cumulative hydromorphone dose (1.54 mg (IRE) vs. 1.24 mg (RFA); P = 0.52) and in the mean pain score (1.96 (IRE) vs. 2.25 (RFA); P = 0.70). In nine (32.14 %) of 28 IRE sessions and 11 (44.0 %) of 25 RFA sessions, patients reported no pain. Complications occurred in three (10.7 %) of 28 IRE treatments and included pneumothorax (n = 1), pleural effusion (n = 1), and bleeding in the form of hemothorax (n = 1); one (4 %) of 25 RFA treatments included burn.


IRE is comparable to RFA in the amount of pain that patients experience and the amount of pain medication self-administered. Both modalities were well tolerated by patients. Prospective, randomized trials are necessary to further evaluate these findings.


Irreversible electroporation Radiofrequency ablation Pain 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC and the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Govindarajan Narayanan
    • 1
  • Tatiana Froud
    • 1
  • Kaming Lo
    • 2
  • Katuska J. Barbery
    • 1
  • Evelyn Perez-Rojas
    • 1
  • Jose Yrizarry
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Vascular and Interventional RadiologyMiller School of Medicine, University of MiamiMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthMiller School of Medicine, University of MiamiMiamiUSA

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