Purpose: To examine the accuracy of the unenhanced zone at contrast material-enhanced ultrasonography (US) in predicting coagulative necrosis during and 21 days after radiofrequency (RF) ablation by using radiologic-pathologic comparison. Materials and methods: Animal studies were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. The livers of 28 rats underwent US-guided RF ablation. In four animals, contrast-enhanced US was performed during ablation and 2 hours and 2, 7, 14, and 21 days after ablation. The unenhanced zone area on US images was measured. DiI-labeled microbubbles were administered during ablation at 2, 4, and 6 minutes or at 2 hours and 2, 7, 14, and 21 days after ablation in the remaining 24 animals (n = 3 at each time point). One minute later, the animal was euthanized, and the ablated liver was harvested. Tissue samples were imaged to quantify total fluorescence, and NADH staining was performed on the same slice. Hematoxylin-eosin staining was also performed. The findings on fluorescence images, NADH-stained images, and hematoxylin-eosin-stained images were compared. The areas of DiI bubble-negative zones, NADH-negative zones, and lightly NADH-staining zones were measured. Data were analyzed by using one-way analysis of variance. Results: The area of the unenhanced zone on contrast-enhanced US images increased during RF ablation and reached a maximum within 2 days after ablation. At histopathologic examination, a transition zone manifested adjacent to the coagulation zone until 2 days after ablation. The DiI-bubble negative zone on fluorescence images and the damaged zone (transition zone plus coagulation zone) on NADH-stained images increased rapidly within 2 hours after ablation, then slowly reached the maximum on day 2. The ratios of the mean areas of these two zones at hour 2 to those at day 2 were 94.6% and 95.6%, respectively. High uniformity between the damaged zone on NADH-stained images and the DiI bubble-negative zone on fluorescence images was noted at all time points. Conclusion: The temporary transition zone in NADH staining is partially damaged and should transition to nonviability 2 days after ablation. These results demonstrate that contrast-enhanced US can help delineate the maximum area of cell damage (to within 5% of the maximum) as early as 2 hours after ablation. Contrast-enhanced US may be a simple and accurate tool for monitoring the effects of RF ablation and quantifying the size of thermal damage after treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging