Similar complication rates for irreversible electroporation and thermal ablation in patients with hepatocellular tumors
Objective: To compare the frequency of adverse events of thermal microwave (MWA) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) with non-thermal irreversible electroporation (IRE) in percutaneous ablation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 117 MWA/RFA and 47 IRE procedures (one tumor treated per procedure; 144 men and 20 women; median age, 66 years) regarding adverse events, duration of hospital and ICU stays and occurrence of a post-ablation syndrome. Complications were classified according to the Clavien & Dindo classification system.
Results: 70.1% of the RFA/MWA and 63.8% of the IRE procedures were performed without complications. Grade I and II complications (any deviation from the normal postinterventional course, e.g., analgesics) occurred in 26.5% (31/117) of MWA/RFA and 34.0% (16/47) of IRE procedures. Grade III and IV (major) complications occurred in 2.6% (3/117) of MWA/RFA and 2.1% (1/47) of IRE procedures. There was no significant difference in the frequency of complications (p = 0.864), duration of hospital and ICU stay and the occurrence of a post-ablation syndrome between the two groups.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that thermal (MWA and RFA) and non-thermal IRE ablation of malignant liver tumors have comparable complication rates despite the higher number of punctures and the lack of track cauterization in IRE.
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