Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 67--73

Percutaneous Image-guided radiofrequency ablation of tumors in inoperable patients - immediate complications and overall safety

1 Dr. Anubha's Imaging Centre, WALMI, Patna, Bihar, India
2 Department of Anesthesiology, AIIMS, Patna, Bihar, India
3 Department of Radiology, Kapoor's Clinic, Jamshedpur, India
4 Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, TMH, Jamshedpur, India

Correspondence Address:
Anubha Sahay
Dr. Anubha's Imaging Centre, WALMI, Patna, Bihar
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.173951

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Introduction: Percutaneous destruction of cancer cells using a radiofrequency energy source has become an accepted part of the modern armamentarium for managing malignancies. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a relatively novel procedure for treating recurrent and metastatic tumors. It is used for debulking tumors and as adjuvant therapy for palliative care apart from its role as a pain management tool. Its use in the third world countries is limited by various factors such as cost and expertise. In the remotest parts of India, where economic development has been slow, abject poverty with poor health care facilities advanced malignancies present a challenge to health care providers. We undertook this study to assess the safety of the percutaneous RFA tumor ablation as a therapeutic or palliative measure in patients where surgery was not possible. We observed that RFA may be an effective, alternative therapeutic modality for some inoperable tumors where other therapeutic modalities cannot be considered. Context: Palliative and therapeutic image-guided RFAs of tumors may be the only treatment option in patients who are inoperable for a variety of reasons. To assess the safety and complications of RFA in such a patient population is important before embarking upon any interventions given their physically, mentally, and socially compromised status in a country such as India. Aims: To assess the safety of percutaneous image-guided radiofrequency tumor ablation and to note the various immediate and early complications of the intervention. Settings and Design: This was a prospective, observational study conducted in Tata Main Hospital, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India. Subjects and Methods: After approval by the Hospital Approval Committee all patients who consented for percutaneous RFA of their tumor admitted in the hospital were included after taking fully informed consent from patient/close relative keeping the following criteria in view. Inclusion Criteria: Patients who were likely to derive a direct benefit in the survival or as a palliative measure for relief in their symptoms and patients who were inoperable because of any of the following reasons: (1) Exhausted conventional treatment options, (2) technical and anatomical contraindications to conventional treatment, (3) medical comorbidities precluding surgery, (4) patient refusal, (5) recurrent tumors, and (6) advanced tumor stage. Conventional Treatment has been defined as surgical resection, radiotherapy, and/or chemotherapy, although the patient eligibility for each treatment may vary. Exclusion Criteria: Patients with the following were excluded: (1) Severe coagulopathy, (2) heart, renal, or liver failure, (3) lesions within 1 cm of gall bladder, hilum, bowel wall, and major blood vessels, (4) patient with any metal implant, (5) patients in sepsis, and (6) tumor adjacent to structures at risk (main bile ducts, pericardium, stomach, or bowel). Results: The duration of procedure as well as ablation of tumor free margin was significantly related to the size of the tumor. As the size of tumor increased, duration of procedure increased significantly. A good tumor-free margin also needs to be ablated for optimum results as it prevents residual tumors and recurrences in the future. We observed that tumors sized <3.1 cm were optimal in this regard. Most common adverse event in postprocedure period was pain in and around ablation site. Post-RFA syndrome is also a common and benign self-limiting side effect. Patient counseling and proper selection of patients in the early stages of malignancy can enhance the efficacy of the procedure and patient satisfaction. Conclusions: Percutaneous image-guided RFA is an option in patients where most other tumor management modalities have been exhausted or rejected. RFA may not be free from side effects such as postablation syndrome, pain, and there may be other serious complications such as bleeding, but based on our observations, percutaneous image-guided RFA of tumors is a safe palliative and therapeutic treatment option.


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Online since 1st October '05
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow