1994 Volume 58 Issue 2 Pages 123-135
To investigate the pathologic changes of the myocardium and the adverse effects of radiogrequency (RF) catheter ablation, we observed canine hearts that had been ablated by RF energy. Catheter ablation was administered to three sites of the hearts of 46 dogs: endomyocardium, coronary sinus, and atrioventricular junction. The dogs were sacrificed 0-12 weeks after ablation and the lesions were stained with hematoxylin-eosin and Azan stain. Each ablated lesion was well demarcated from the adjacent normal tissue. The margin between the ablated lesion and normal tissue became clearer with time. The lesions were hemispherical and measured about 2 to 10 mm in diameter and 1 to 6 mm in depth. Histologic examination in the acute phase demonstrated the presence of coagulation necrosis of the myocardium, interstitial hemorrhage and edema, followed by infiltration of inflammatory cells. Granulation tissue replaced the normal myocardium. In the chronic phase, the lesions became fibrotic and fatty. A mural thrombus was found in 30% of the cases of endomyocardial ablation and 50% of the right ventricular lesions were transmural. Ablated lesions in the coronary sinus extended to the left atrium and left ventricle. Obstruction of the coronary sinus was observed in 8% of the ablated dogs. Most of the lesions with complete atrioventricular block were ablated at the His penetrating region of the conduction system. Thus, since the ablated lesions were clearly delineated, catheter ablation using RF energy appears to eliminate only the target area.