Comparison of transseptal puncture using a dedicated RF wire versus a mechanical needle with and without electrification in an animal model

Bradley P. Knight*, Jeremiah Wasserlauf, Saja Al-Dujaili, Amin Al-Ahmad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Mechanical force to achieve transseptal puncture (TSP) using a standard needle may lead to overshooting and injury, and can potentially be avoided using a radiofrequency (RF)-powered needle or wire. Applying electrocautery to needles and guidewires as an alternative to purpose-built RF systems has been associated with safety risks, such as tissue coring and thermal damage. The commercially available AcQCross needle-dilator system (Medtronic) features a sharp open-ended needle for mechanical puncture, as well as a built-in connector to enable energy delivery for RF puncture. This investigation compares the safety and efficacy of the AcQCross needle to the dedicated VersaCross RF wire system and generator (Baylis Medical/Boston Scientific). Methods: In an ex vivo porcine model, VersaCross wire punctures were performed using 1 s, constant mode (approx. 10 W) with maximum two attempts. AcQCross punctures were performed by applying energy for 2 s using a standard electrosurgical generator at 10 W (max. five attempts), 20 W (max. two attempts), and 30 W (max. two attempts). Efficacy was assessed in terms of puncture success and a number of energy applications required for TSP. Safety was assessed quantitatively as force required for TSP, energy required to puncture, and incidence of tissue coring, as well as by qualitative assessment of puncture sites. Additional qualitative observation of tissue cores and debris were obtained from TSP performed in live swine. Results: RF TSP was 100% successful using the VersaCross wire with 1.0 ± 0.0 attempts. When power was used with the AcQCross needle, it failed to puncture at low (10 and 20 W) power settings; TSP was achieved with 30 W of energy with 91% success using 1.53 ± 0.51 attempts (p <.05 vs. VC) with greater variability (F1,33 = 9223.5, p <.0001). Compared to RF puncture using the VersaCross system, mechanical puncture, alone, using the AcQcross needle required six times more force (8 mm additional forward device displacement) to perforate the septum. Qualitative assessment of puncture sites revealed larger defects and more tissue charring with the AcQCross needle at 30 W compared to punctures with VersaCross wire. Tissue coring with the open-ended AcQCross needle was observed in vivo and measured to occur in 57% of punctures using the ex vivo model; no coring was observed with the closed-tip VersaCross wire. Conclusions: The AcQCross needle frequently required higher energy of 30 W to achieve RF TSP and was associated with tissue coring and charring, which have been, previously, reported when electrifying a standard open-ended mechanical needle or guidewire. These findings may limit safety and effectiveness compared to the VersaCross system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cardiovascular electrophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • RF puncture electrosurgery
  • RF wire
  • left atrial access
  • tissue coring
  • transseptal puncture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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