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This study is an investigation of the relationship between several characteristic parameters and acute thermal damage in porcine skeletal muscle.
Fourteen pigs under injection anaesthesia were placed into a magnetic resonance body coil and exposed for different time durations to different specific energy absorption rate (SAR) levels at 123 MHz. Local temperatures were measured using four temperature sensors. Sensors 1-3 were placed in skeletal muscle and one sensor was placed in the rectum. Sensors 1 and 2 were placed in hot-spot areas and sensor 3 was placed at the periphery of the animals. The pigs were exposed to whole-body SAR (SAR-wb) between 2.5 W/kg and 5.2 W/kg for 30 or 60 min. Three animals received no SAR. After each experiment, muscle samples adjacent to the positions of sensors 1-3 were taken for frozen section analysis. Three characteristic parameters were chosen for investigation: SAR-wb, maximum sensor temperature (T-max), and cumulative equivalent minutes at 43 °C (CEM43 °C).
Histopathological criteria were established to detect acute thermal tissue damage in frozen sections such as widening of intercellular space between the muscle fibres and loss of glycogen. Clear tissue damage thresholds were found for T-max and CEM43 °C, though not for SAR-wb. For all animals with high thermal exposure, damage was also found for muscle samples adjacent to the peripheral sensor 3.
Both T-max and CEM43, are able to predict thermal damage in porcine muscle. However, CEM43 is the less ambiguous parameter. The reasons for the occurrence of the aforementioned damage at low local temperatures at the animals' periphery remain unclear and further investigations are needed.