Systematic evaluation of a holmium: yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser lithotripsy device with variable pulse peak power and pulse duration

 2014 Oct;1(1):60-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ajur.2014.08.008. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Authors: Christopher Netsch*, Sophie Knipper, Christian Tiburtius, Andreas J. Gross

Objective: The Holmium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Ho:YAG) laser is the standard lithotrite for ureteroscopy. This paper is to evaluate a Ho:YAG laser with a novel effect function in vitro, which allows a real-time variation of pulse duration and pulse peak power.

Methods: Two types of phantom calculi with four degrees of hardness were made for fragmentation and retropulsion experiments. Fragmentation was analysed at 5 (0.5 J/10 Hz), 10 (1 J/ 10 Hz), and 20 (2 J/10 Hz) W in non-floating phantom calculi, retropulsion in an ureteral model at 10 (1 J/10 Hz) and 20 (2 J/10 Hz) W using floating phantom calculi. The effect function was set to 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of the maximum possible effect function at each power setting. Primary outcomes: fragmentation (mm3), the distance of retropulsion (cm); 5 measurements for each trial.

Results: An increase of the effect feature (25% vs. 100%), i.e., an increase of pulse peak power and decrease of pulse duration, improved Ho:YAG laser fragmentation. This effect was remarkable in soft stone composition, while there was a trend for improved fragmentation with an increase of the effect feature in hard stone composition. Retropulsion increased with increasing effect function, independently of stone composition. The major limitations of the study are the use of artificial stones and the in vitro setup.

Conclusion: Changes in pulse duration and pulse peak power may lead to improved stone fragmentation, most prominently in soft stones, but also lead to increased retropulsion. This new effect function may enhance Ho:YAG laser fragmentation when maximum power output is limited or retropulsion is excluded.