In vivo characterization of colonic thermal injury caused by argon plasma coagulation

Ian D. Norton, Linan Wang, Susan A. Levine, Lawrence J. Burgart, Erik K. Hofmeister, Robert F. Yacavone, Christopher J. Gostout, Bret T. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


Background: Argon plasma coagulation has been rapidly accepted for endoscopic obliteration of vascular lesions and superficial tumors. Depth of injury is thought to be limited through preferential discharge of energy to nondesiccated tissue. However, argon plasma coagulation-induced injury has not been well characterized. The aim of this study was to characterize argon plasma coagulation-induced colonic injury by using a porcine model. Methods: Laparotomy was performed in 6 female swine and the colon exteriorized with the subjects under general anesthesia. Lesions were made with an argon plasma coagulation probe held perpendicular and 2 mm from the mucosa. Variables studied were as follows: power (45 W, 60 W, and 75 W) and duration (1, 2, or 3 seconds; n = 11 for each power/duration combination). Injury was graded as either superficial or deep, involving the muscularis propria. Results: Circular muscle layer injury correlated closely with power (p = 0.02), duration (p = 0.001), and total energy delivered (r = 0.977). Longitudinal muscle damage was associated with duration of burn (p = 0.001) and total energy delivered (r = 0.855), but correlated poorly with power (p = 0.40). No perforations occurred. Submucosal injection of saline solution had a protective effect with reductions in circular (90% to 10%, p = 0.002) and longitudinal muscle injury (50% to 0%, p = 0.1). Conclusions: Injury to the muscularis propria occurs at recommended settings for argon plasma coagulation. Injury correlates with power setting, duration of burn, and total energy delivery. Protective arcing to nondesiccated tissue does not appear to be significant in vivo. Submucosal injection of saline solution protects against deep injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-636
Number of pages6
JournalGastrointestinal endoscopy
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology

Cite this

Norton, I. D., Wang, L., Levine, S. A., Burgart, L. J., Hofmeister, E. K., Yacavone, R. F., Gostout, C. J., & Petersen, B. T. (2002). In vivo characterization of colonic thermal injury caused by argon plasma coagulation. Gastrointestinal endoscopy, 55(6), 631-636.