Computational Model for Prediction of the Occurrence of Steam Pops during Irrigated Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation
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Radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) is a curative treatment for cardiac arrhythmias. Although globally a pretty safe procedure, it may present some risk. Steam pop is a serious complication that can occur during RFCA with irrigated electrodes. Pops are caused by tissue overheating above 89oC, and may cause explosive rupture of myocardial wall. Today, it is still very complicated to predict the occurrence and location of steam pops into the tissue during RFCA. Our aim was to use a computational model to address these issues considering two irrigated catheter tip designs and different power settings. The model has been validated against existing experimental results. Computational results show no evidence of significant differences in the incidence of steam pops between the two catheter designs. Steam pops appears at powers higher than 30W at approximately 2 mm depth under the electrode tip. Overall, the computational findings were in close agreement with previous experimental results, which suggests that the proposed model could be useful to predict the occurrence of steam pops in different clinical situations.