High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is an evolving technology with potential therapeutic applications. Utilizing frequencies of 500 kHz to 10 MHz, HIFU causes localized hyperthermia at predictable depths without injuring intervening tissue. Applications in neurosurgery, urology, oncology and, more recently, cardiology for selective cardiac conduction tissue ablation have been promising. A 'noninvasive' technique for causing localized tissue damage to relieve hemodynamic and life-threatening obstruction in patients with congenital cardiac anomalies could replace more invasive procedures. We, therefore, investigated the ability of HIFU to create lesions in mammalian' cardiac tissues ex vivo. Porcine valve leaflet, canine pericardium, human newborn atrial septum, and right atrial appendage were studied. Specimens were mounted and immersed in a water bath at room temperature. Using a 1-MHz phased array transducer, ultrasound energy was applied with an acoustic intensity of 1630 W/cm2 or 2547 W/cm2 until a visible defect was created (duration 3 to 25 sec). Macroscopic and microscopic examination demonstrated precise defects ranging from 3 to 4 mm in diameter. No damage was identified to the surrounding tissues. Our study concluded that HIFU can create precise defects in different cardiac tissue without damage to the surrounding tissue. Further investigation is needed to assess potential clinical uses of this technology.
- Heart defects
- Heart septal defects