Ultrasonic energy. Effects on vascular function and integrity.
BACKGROUND Ultrasonic energy transmitted via flexible wire probes provides a new means of ablating atherosclerotic plaque. We studied the effects of ultrasonic energy (20 kHz) delivered via a ball-tipped wire probe on arterial vasomotor behavior in rabbit thoracic aortas in a perfused whole-vessel model.
METHODS AND RESULTS After precontraction with phenylephrine (10(-5) M) or KCl (60 mM), the effects of ultrasonic energy (0.7-5.5 W x 60 seconds, 42-330 J) on arterial vasomotor behavior were measured using long-axis ultrasonic vessel imaging of the proximal (ultrasonic probe-treated) and distal (untreated) control segments. The efficacy of plaque ablation at these same probe-tip power outputs was evaluated in atherosclerotic, human cadaver iliofemoral arteries. Ultrasonic energy caused dose (energy)-dependent relaxation in rabbit aortas after precontraction with phenylephrine in arteries with endothelium (n = 8) and without endothelium (n = 8) (p less than 0.001 versus ultrasound treated at power outputs of 2.9 and 5.5 W). There was no difference in the relaxation dose responses between endothelialized and endothelially denuded segments (p = NS). Ultrasonic energy also caused significant relaxation (67 +/- 8%) after voltage-dependent precontraction with 60 mM KCl. Temperature measurements revealed less than 1 degrees C warming of the vessel wall during as long as 2 minutes of treatment at a power output of 5.5 W. Pathological examination showed no smooth muscle injury at (moderate) power outputs that caused arterial relaxation. At probe-tip power outputs of 2.9-5.5 W, ultrasonic energy recanalized two of two totally occluded cadaveric iliofemoral vessel segments. The ultrasonic ablation catheter was also demonstrated to cause arterial relaxation in a recanalized canine femoral artery in vivo.
CONCLUSIONS Ultrasonic energy delivered via a flexible-wire probe produces dose-dependent, endothelium-independent smooth muscle relaxation capable of reversing both receptor-mediated and voltage-dependent vasoconstriction in vitro. At moderate power outputs, this relaxation response does not appear to be due to thermal effects or irreversible smooth muscle cell injury. This vasorelaxant effect of ultrasonic energy is also apparent in vivo, at doses that effectively ablate atherosclerotic plaque, and may improve the safety of arterial recanalization using ultrasonic energy.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association