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Electrolytic liver ablation is not associated with evidence of a systemic inflammatory response syndrome. BJS 2004; 91: 178-183.

Published: 18th December 2003

Authors: B. D. Teague, F. G. Court, C. P. Morrison, M. Kho, S. A. Wemyss‐Holden, G. J. Maddern et al.


Local ablation has been proposed for treatment of liver tumours. Cryoshock, a variant of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), is a potentially fatal complication of cryoablation caused by systemic release of necrotic breakdown products from ablated liver. The proinflammatory cytokines tissue necrosis factor (TNF) α and interleukin (IL) 1 are important mediators of this response. This study assessed the risk of SIRS complicating electrolytic liver ablation by measuring circulating levels of inflammatory cytokines, other inflammatory markers and clinical markers of organ function.


Electrolytic liver ablation was performed in 16 pigs and four pigs served as controls. Platelet count, and serum levels of urea, creatinine, liver enzymes, C‐reactive protein (CRP), TNF‐α and IL‐1β were measured before treatment and for 72 h after the procedure.


There were significant dose‐related increases in CRP and alanine aminotransferase levels with liver electrolysis. There was no significant derangement in renal function or platelet count following ablation. A rise in serum TNF‐α and IL‐1β levels was not associated with liver electrolysis.


There was no evidence of organ failure or significantly raised levels of proinflammatory cytokines as a result of liver electrolysis, suggesting that this is a safe procedure for liver ablation. Copyright © 2003 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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