Fluid cushion protects against thermal damage during argon plasma coagulation

Authors Roberta Maselli, Paul J. Belletrutti, Marco Spadaccini, Piera Alessia Galtieri, Thomas Stabler, Michael Ederer, Alexander Neugebauer, Markus D. Enderle, Alessandro Repici.


Background Thermal damage to the muscle layer during mucosal application of argon plasma coagulation (APC) may be avoided by creating a fluid cushion within the submucosal layer, but the minimum injection volume needed or the ideal injection fluid are yet to be established. We conducted a systematic ex vivo study with this aim.

Methods All experiments were performed in an ex vivo porcine gastrointestinal tract model. Five different fluids (saline, Glyceol, Gelafundin, Voluven, and Eleview) of different volumes were injected into the submucosa of different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. APC was applied to the mucosa at different power settings. Immediately after APC treatment, the temperature was measured through a thermocouple placed inside the fluid cushion, just on top of the muscle layer. The minimum volume of fluid needed to protect the muscle layer from thermal damage was determined.

Results There was no difference in the temperature measured among the different injection fluids at the surface of the muscle, in all the locations, at equal injection volumes and power settings. The minimum amounts of fluid needed to protect the muscle layer were 2 and 3 mL for power settings of 30-90 W and 90-120 W, respectively.

Conclusions Normal saline and 4 commercially available submucosal injection fluids possess similar thermal protective effects. To reduce the likelihood of thermal damage to deeper layers when APC is applied, a minimum injection volume of 3 mL is recommended if less than 90 W power will be utilized over 3 sec.

Keywords Argon plasma coagulation, submucosal injection, ablation, endoscopy

Ann Gastroenterol 2021; 34 (6): 845-851

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