Reproducibility of left atrial ablation with high-intensity focused ultrasound energy in a calf model

Nestor R. Villamizar, Jennifer H. Crow, Valentino Piacentino, Louis R. Dibernardo, Mani A. Daneshmand, Dawn E. Bowles, Mark A. Groh, Carmelo A. Milano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: Achieving transmural tissue ablation might be necessary for successful treatment of atrial fibrillation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reproducibility of transmural left atrial ablation using a high-intensity focused ultrasound energy system in a calf model. Methods: Nine heparinized bovines underwent a beating-heart left atrial ablation with a single application of the high-intensity focused ultrasound device. All animals were acutely killed, and the left atrium was fixed in formalin. Protocolized histological sections (5 μm) were obtained throughout each lesion and prepared with Masson trichrome and hematoxylin and eosin staining. Measurements were performed on a total of 359 slides from the 9 lesions. In addition, fresh left atrial tissues from 18 unused human donor hearts that did not meet the criteria for cardiac transplantation were measured at the site where the high-intensity focused ultrasound device is normally applied. Results: Calf left atrial thickness ranged between 2.5 and 20.1 mm, with a mean of 9.10 mm. High-intensity focused ultrasound ablation consistently produced a 100% transmural lesion in left atrial thickness up to 6 mm. In addition, a transmural lesion was observed in 91% of tissues that were up to 10 mm thick and in 85% that were up to 15 mm thick. Human left atrial thickness ranged between 1.2 to 6 mm, with a mean of 3.7 mm. Conclusions: Calf left atrial thickness in this study was greater than human left atrial thickness. Human left atrial thickness is generally less than 6 mm, and in this range high-intensity focused ultrasound ablation achieved 100% transmurality. These histological results might correlate with a high success rate of atrial fibrillation ablation by using the high-intensity focused ultrasound system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1381-1387.e1
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • AF
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • HIFU
  • High-intensity focused ultrasound
  • LA
  • Left atrium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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