Briefly Noted: Outpatient Liver Biopsy

A small retrospective study (R Bolia et al. JPGN 2017; 65: 86-88) with 497 patients (626 biopsies) found that all complications were identified within 8 hours.  Thirty (48%) had complications, with a subcapsular hematoma being most common (n=14).  Less common adverse events included fever (n=5), skin site ooze (n=3), intraperitoneal bleeding (n=3), hemobilia (n=2), anaphylaxis to gelfoam (n=2), and sepsis (n=1). In this study, the majority of biopsies were performed by interventional radiology (n=492); though, the complication rate was similar in both groups.

The authors conclude that their data support the outpatient liver biopsies in children.

My take: I disagree with the authors’ conclusion to some extent.  Their population is too small to detect rare but severe complications.  Our empiric practice is watch children older than 6 years of age for 6 hours and watch younger children (or others deemed at increased risk) for 24 hours.

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3 thoughts on “Briefly Noted: Outpatient Liver Biopsy

  1. Jay – GREAT BLOG! You are the only blog I follow and I am very appreciative of your “journalism”… I generally agree with your basic points, but in this case I’m not so sure I’d characterize a sample size of essentially 500 patients (with more than 600 biopsies) as “small”! Just as a comment. Keep up the good work. – Jenifer Lightdale

  2. Pingback: Great Issue: We Need More Negative Studies (Published) | gutsandgrowth

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