Intravascular Ultrasound Can Be Used to Locate Nerves, but not Confirm Ablation, During Renal Sympathetic Denervation

Keisuke Okamura, Shunsuke Satou, Yusuke Kato, Yusuke Kogata, Masatoshi Matsushima, Kazuyuki Shirai, Hidenori Urata


Background: No methods exist for confirming nerve ablation in catheter-based renal sympathetic denervation (RDN).

Methods: We investigated the feasibility of using intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) to locate nerves and observe nerve integrity changes during RDN in a pig. To confirm our observations, we used post-RDN histological sections matched anatomically to the IVUS images.

Results: IVUS revealed multiple hypoechoic structures along the renal artery, whose locations matched those of nerves in the histological sections. Nerves clustered near the junction between the renal artery and vein. Histology confirmed necrosis of nerve bundles at RDN ablation sites, but no changes in echogenicity were observed using IVUS.

Conclusions: Although IVUS cannot currently be used to confirm ablation during RDN, it clearly reveals some clusters of renal sympathetic nerves. It remains to be demonstrated how IVUS can guide RDN devices and potentially improve ablation success.

J Clin Med Res. 2021;13(12):556-562


Catheter-based renal sympathetic denervation; Renal sympathetic nerves; Intravascular ultrasound

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