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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


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

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalCardioVascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013



  • Irreversible electroporation
  • Pain
  • Radiofrequency ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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