Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 575–582 | Cite as

Radio frequency perforation of cardiac tissue: Modelling and experimental results



Radio frequency (RF) current delivered through a thin catheter can be used to perforate the pulmonary valve or the atrial septum to treat pulmonary atresia in newborns. To understand better the mechanisms of RF perforation, a numerical model is developed, and experiments are performed in isolated canine cardiac tissue. The model consists of a cylindrical domain with a tissue layer between two blood layers. The finite-difference method is used to compute both the potential and temperature distributions. When the tissue temperature exceeds 100°C in all points that are directly in front of the catheter, these points are considered to be instantly vaporised, and the catheter advances over these points. The computed temperature time course coincides with measured temperature at small voltages (<16 V). Simulated perforation occurs when the voltage exceeds a threshold of 70–80V for a catheter diameter of 0.30–0.44 mm, which coincides with experimental observations in the myocardium. A voltage exceeding this perforation threshold tends to decrease tissue damage. Shorter electrodes (0.7 mm as against 2.4 mm) with smaller diameters produce a more rapid perforation. In conclusion, numerical simulations provide insights into aspects of RF perforation, such as electrode size, current, speed of perforation and collateral damage.


Pulmonary atresia Radio-frequency perforation Catheter Modelling 


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Copyright information

© IFMBE 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biomedical Engineering InstituteÉcole Polytechnique de Montréal and Université de Montréal, Centre de recherche, Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Baylls Medical CompanyMississaugaCanada

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