Int J Numer Method Biomed Eng 2019 11 10;35(11):e3232. Epub 2019 Oct 10.
Basque Center for Applied Mathematics, Bilbao, Spain.
Radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) is an effective treatment for cardiac arrhythmias. Although generally safe, it is not completely exempt from the risk of complications. The great flexibility of computational models can be a major asset in optimizing interventional strategies if they can produce sufficiently precise estimations of the generated lesion for a given ablation protocol. This requires an accurate description of the catheter tip and the cardiac tissue. In particular, the deformation of the tissue under the catheter pressure during the ablation is an important aspect that is overlooked in the existing literature, which resorts to a sharp insertion of the catheter into an undeformed geometry. As the lesion size depends on the power dissipated in the tissue and the latter depends on the percentage of the electrode surface in contact with the tissue itself, the sharp insertion geometry has the tendency to overestimate the lesion obtained, which is a consequence of the tissue temperature rise overestimation. In this paper, we introduce a full 3D computational model that takes into account the tissue elasticity and is able to capture tissue deformation and realistic power dissipation in the tissue. Numerical results in FEniCS-HPC are provided to validate the model against experimental data and to compare the lesions obtained with the new model and with the classical ones featuring a sharp electrode insertion in the tissue.