Several inexpensive endoscopic methods of electrocoagulation have been advocated for treatment of gastrointestinal haemorrhage. We compared four types of electrode: dry monopolar - Cameron Miller (M), liquid monopolar - Storz (L), bipolar - Bicap ACMI (B), and heater probe - Seattle (H). The electrical and thermal properties of these probes were studied using computerised monitoring of energy deposition and their efficacy and safety was tested in a randomised study in 140 experimental canine gastric ulcers. At optimal pulse settings 20J (M), 70J (L), 17J (B), 15J (H), effective haemostasis was achieved in all ulcers, the mean number of pulses being M5, L6, H6 and B11, the first three requiring significantly (p less than 0.01) less pulse than B. Relative safety of the electrodes was assessed by comparing the incidence of full thickness damage at histology: B24%, H20%, L58% and M69%; B and H proving significantly (p less than 0.01) safer than L and M. Sticking was assessed as H greater than B greater than M much greater than L. Insensitivity to extreme angulation and force of application was assessed as L greater than B greater than M (H is preset). Of the two safer electrodes the heater probe was more effective than the bipolar probe. Despite its greater tendency to stick than the other devices, the heater probe appeared the most promising of the endoscopic electrodes tested.
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