Postablation syndrome hits RFA liver patients

October 5, 2005

One-third of patients at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio who underwent radiofrequency ablation of liver tumors briefly developed symptoms such as fever, delayed pain, malaise, chills, and nausea after the procedure. Clinical reports sporadically mention these symptoms, but none has scrutinized them in detail until now, according to Dr. Gerald Dodd and colleagues at UT (AJR 2005; 185:51-57).

One-third of patients at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio who underwent radiofrequency ablation of liver tumors briefly developed symptoms such as fever, delayed pain, malaise, chills, and nausea after the procedure. Clinical reports sporadically mention these symptoms, but none has scrutinized them in detail until now, according to Dr. Gerald Dodd and colleagues at UT (AJR 2005; 185:51-57).

Researchers prospectively reviewed delayed symptoms in 39 patients with 89 liver tumor nodules who underwent 50 consecutive RFA sessions. They found the flulike symptoms were directly related to the volume of ablated tissue.

Statistically significant predictors for these symptoms included tumor volumes larger than 50 cm3, ablated tissue volumes larger than 150 cm3, difference between actual tumor volume and volume of tissue ablated larger than 125 cm3, difference between actual tumor volume and volume of tissue ablated larger than 125 cm3, and post-RFA aspartate aminotransferase levels above 350 IU/L.