Assessment of radiofrequency ablation technique in development of aortic valve stenosis in rabbits
Purpose: To develop a minimally invasive and reproducible model of aortic stenosis in rabbits using radiofrequency ablation technique (RFA).
Material and methods: Eleven rabbits were studied. A radiofrequency ablation catheter was introduced via the femoral artery and advanced to the aortic valve area under fluoroscopic control. In three rabbits radiofrequency energies, at 5 W, 10 W and 15 W respectively, were applied thrice for 90 sec. In eight rabbits, energy of 15 W was applied for the same time periods. The velocity of the blood through the aortic valve was determined by color Doppler ultrasound immediately before and after ablation and after six weeks. After six weeks the rabbits were sacrificed and the aortic valve was examined macroscopically.
Results: Peak systolic velocity (PSV) was similar at the time of ablation and after six weeks in eight of the nine surviving rabbits, and had increased from 1.1 to 1.75 m/s in one rabbit. Two rabbits developed aortic insufficiencies visualized by color Doppler. No macroscopic changes were seen at the aortic valve area 6 weeks after ablation.
Conclusion: In the current study we did not succeed in inducing aortic valve damage/fibrosis using different RFA energies. Inadequate RFA power or inappropriate positioning of the RFA catheter could be limitations of our study.