Cellular Electrophysiological Changes Induced In Vitro by Radiofrequency Current: Comparison with Electrical Ablation


Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the cellular electrophysiological effects of radiofrequency energy delivery in an in vitro canine epicardial preparation and compare the effects to those of high energy electrical ablation in a similar preparation. Ten joules of direct current energy or 40 volts of radiofrequency energy were delivered by a 6 French 2‐mm tip catheter to the epicardial surface of 2 × 3 cm epicardial strips superfused with Tyrode's solution. Direct current energy delivery produced a crater and central zone of necrosis surrounded by a border zone of viable but damaged tissue that extended up to 10–12 mm from the site of energy delivery. Cellular electrophysiological abnormalities that included a less negative resting membrane potential, decreased peak dV/dT, decreased action potential amplitude, and decreased action potential duration (APD) were approximately linearly related to the distance from the crater edge. In addition, viable and inexcitable cells were frequently interspersed. Between 2 and 5 mm from the crater edge, 36.4% of the cells were inexcitable whereas others displayed normal action potential characteristics. In contrast, radiofrequency current produced a central zone of necrosis surrounded by a smaller border zone. Cellular damage that was qualitatively similar to that produced by direct current energy extended only up to 6–8 mm from the edge of the crater. In addition, severe abnormalities were noted in intracellular potentials recorded within 2 mm of the ablation site, and only minor abnormalities further away. Lesions were relatively homogeneous. Between 2 and 5 mm from the ablation site only 2.6% of the cells were inexcitable (P < 0.05 vs direct current). In conclusion, radiofrequency current produces lesions that are smaller and more homogeneous than those produced by direct current ablation. Although the border zone is small, a region of partially depolarized but viable myocardium is present after radiofrequency current energy delivery. These findings provide a cellular basis for several clinical observations that have been made following radiofrequency current energy delivery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-333
Number of pages11
JournalPacing and Clinical Electrophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • after depolarizations catheter ablation
  • arrhythmias
  • direct current
  • radiofrequency current

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Cellular Electrophysiological Changes Induced In Vitro by Radiofrequency Current: Comparison with Electrical Ablation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this