3 years ago

Avoiding nerve stimulation in irreversible electroporation: a numerical modeling study.

Arena CB, Mercadal B, Davalos RV, Ivorra A
Electroporation based treatments consist in applying one or multiple high voltage pulses to the tissues to be treated. As an undesired side effect, these pulses cause electrical stimulation of excitable tissues such as nerves and muscles. This increases the complexity of the treatments and may pose a risk to the patient. To minimize electrical stimulation during electroporation based treatments, it has been proposed to replace the commonly used monopolar pulses by bursts of short bipolar pulses. In the present study, we have numerically analyzed the rationale for such approach. We have compared different pulsing protocols in terms of their electroporation efficacy and their capability to trigger action potentials in nerves. For that, we have developed a modeling framework that combines numerical models of nerve fibers and experimental data on irreversible electroporation. Our results indicate that, by replacing the conventional relatively long monopolar pulses by bursts of short bipolar pulses, it is possible to ablate a large tissue region without triggering action potentials in a nearby nerve. Our models indicate that this is possible because, as the pulse length of these bipolar pulses is reduced, the stimulation thresholds raise faster than the irreversible electroporation thresholds. We propose that this different dependence on the pulse length is due to the fact that transmembrane charging for nerve fibers is much slower than that of cells treated by electroporation because of their geometrical differences.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28901954

DOI: PubMed:28901954

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